What is domestic violence?

Epidemics are always dangerous and damaging. Luckily, in our present world they happen less and less often than they used to. However, there is one social disease which cannot be fought with vaccinations or medicine – domestic violence. There are no certain areas which are more prone to it. Domestic violence touches individuals everywhere and no matter what economic status, religion or race they are. It is a “disease” which is extremely hard to control and treat. But one of the ways of dealing with it is raising people’s awareness of what “domestic violence” really means.

Physical or psychological abuse?

To start with we must make it clear: it is a wrong belief that domestic violence involves only physical abuse. The truth is that often psychological and emotional abusive behaviors hurt the same as punches or slaps in the face. Only emotional abuse without physical violence does not make the problem less serious.

The core

In general, the root of the problem is in the abuser’s will to gain control and power over the other person. It is an intentional intimidation of a partner, which aims at making him/her feeling subordinate and act according to the abusive partner’s wish. The consequences of being in such a relationship can be very severe – physical or psychological injury, trauma, or even death.

Whose fault is this?

We often think that breaking such a relationship is just the matter of packing up the suitcase and going away. Unfortunately, it is not as many people believe. In fact, when the abusive partner realizes that his/her victim is trying to escape or is looking for help, the abusive behaviors intensify. Domestic violence is not the fault of the abused person just because he or she has not yet decided to leave. Such decision often results in stalking, harassing, threatening, or even a murder.

How to avoid domestic violence?

The complexity of the problem stems from the fact that there are very small chances that we will be able to predict what the new relationship with a certain person can bring. How can we foresee that it can all end up with domestic violence? Beginnings of dangerous relationships are usually quite normal and, actually, abusive partners start with creating themselves as perfect choices. Then, systematically, they become more and more aggressive and their violence intensifies. Nevertheless, there are first signs of the upcoming disaster which are very often ignored or unnoticed. These are for example: distrust, being possessive, overly controlling, threats, name-calling. In such cases, the behaviors are explained with love and care and apologies are frequent. Unfortunately, something which seems totally normal and harmless in the beginning, can transfer into a very dangerous obsession (for instance: demanding to spend time together for 24 hours every day may look like the sign of love and great commitment).

Never ignore violence

It is very important to be responsive to any obsessive and aggressive behaviors of a new partner and to react immediately. Continuing such a relationship can be really harmful. If it is too late, it is not easy to escape a violent partner. It usually cannot be done without police, court and other people’s help and intervention. But if you are a victim, you cannot be afraid of asking for help. The longer you are stuck in this dangerous position, the more difficult it is to find the safe way out.

Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now – it is confidential and anonymous, available 24/7. You do not have to be hurt anymore!