Domestic Violence is defined as the abusive attack and victimization of an individual or individuals by their partners within a romantic relationship or friendship. It is also known as a pattern of abusive and threatening behaviors and actions perpetrated by an intimate partner. It is difficult to address due to the many forms it takes, sometimes affecting children and others who are related to or interact with its victims.
Domestic violence can be delivered as a physical, emotional, verbal, sexual or psychological attack and can be perpetrated on both the male and female of a relationship and on others in their lives.
Domestic abuse and violence is about power and control. The key elements of domestic abuse are intimidation, humiliation, and injury. Abusers use a variety of tactics and actions to gain exclusive authority over their victims including:
1. Sexual abuse – the victim is forced to engage in sex or specific sexual acts, sex is withheld from the victim or the victims sexual feeling and desires are ignored
2. Emotional / psychological abuse - verbal or non-verbal and includes threats against the victim their friends, or their family such as name-calling, belittling, making all decisions for the victim, withholding affection, isolating the victim from family and friend and restricting the victims access to phones and computers, extreme jealously and unfounded accusations against the victim.
3. Physical abuse- includes hitting, beating, and punching, pushing, shoving, choking, biting, pulling hair, and prohibiting access to medical attention for the victim.
4. Financial abuse - withholding funds, stealing, identity theft, creating financial dependence, forcing the victim to work or forbidding them to work, and controlling the finances and paycheck of the victim.
5. Spiritual abuse - forbidding the victim to practice their own moral, cultural, and/or religious beliefs or forcing them to give up their values.
26 women, 4 men and 3 children in Arkansas were killed due to domestic violence in 2016. Arkansas ranks #1 in the U.S. in the number of African American Women being murdered by a batterer. 1 out of 3 women and 1 out of 4 men have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner. 1 out of 3 teenaged girls will be battered by a boyfriend. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women ages 15 - 44 and is the # 1 cause of Emergency room visits.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, help is available. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has staff on call day and night to answer questions and provide helpful resources. The National Hotline number is 1-800-799-7233.
In Arkansas, the 24 - Hour Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-332-4443.
We must all stand - together - against domestic violence!