#TBT: Defining Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a topic worth revisiting on this Throwback Thursday. Search phrases about domestic violence bring people to Treating Trauma every day. Sadly, the issue is also very much in the news (again) currently.

Domestic Violence: A Definition

One type of trauma I see in my practice is domestic violence. I have worked especially with lesbian,  gay,  bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) victims of domestic violence.  This is still an under served group.  The societal stigma attached to sexual orientation and gender identity continues to create even more barriers to accessing care,  as if it isn’t already hard enough for any victim of domestic violence to seek and receive trauma-informed help! I will be exploring LGBT DV issues further in a later post, but first I wanted to share some definitions and an overview.

Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior within an intimate relationship where one person tries to control the thoughts, beliefs or conduct of another person.  It can include physical, emotional,  sexual,  spiritual,  identity and/or economic abuse.

Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence and dating violence,  happens in lesbian,  gay,  bisexual,  transgender (LGBT) as well as straight communities.  It crosses all social,  ethnic,  racial,  religious and economic lines.

Domestic violence may include but is not limited to:

Physical abuse: hitting,  choking,  slapping,  burning,  shoving,  using a weapon,  neglecting,  locking in a room.

Emotional and Psychological Abuse: criticizing constantly, ridiculing,  trying to humiliate or degrade,  lying, undermining self-esteem.

Isolation: restricting freedom, controlling personal/social contacts, access to information and participation in groups or organizations.

Threats and Intimidation: threatening harm, threatening children, family or friends, threatening to make reports to authorities that would jeopardize child custody, immigration or legal status.

Identity Abuse: threatening to reveal LGBT identity to family, neighbors, employers, ex-spouses, or city, state, and/or federal authorities.

Sexual Abuse: forcing sex or specific acts, assaulting “sexual parts,” withholding sex, criticizing.

Property Destruction: destroying mementos, breaking furniture/windows, smashing objects.

Using Children or Pets: using custody of children to control or intimidate, threatening to harm pets, threatening to take pets in a separation.

If you are in immediate danger or want more information, please contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline:

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

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