Domestic Violence Articles
Domestic violence is commonly associated with spousal abuse, but it can apply to anyone in your household. Not only that, but you don’t need to lay a finger on someone in order to be violent with them. Domestic violence ruins relationships and can end up in disaster if not checked. It’s a silent crime, with many cases going unreported due to their private nature. You’ll find articles talking about what domestic violence means, why survivors don’t just leave their abusers, and what you can do if you’re experiencing domestic violence. Just know that it isn’t your fault. It’s your abuser who needs the help and you who needs the support.
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Medically Reviewed By: Julie A. Dodson, MA, LCSW
Content Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include abuse which could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is experiencing abuse, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Free support is available 24/7. Please also see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.
Domestic violence can be defined as abuse from one person against another individual that takes place within a domestic setting, which could include marriage or an environment where multiple people live together. Sometimes called domestic abuse or intimate partner violence, DV is most associated with one partner committing abuse toward their significant other.
However, domestic violence can take place in a relationship with heterosexual relationships, same-sex partnerships, or across any gender lines. It can occur between partners, parents, children, or the elderly and may cross physical, verbal, emotional, mental, financial, religious, sexual, or reproductive lines. Sometimes, domestic violence causes an individual to fear for their lives. In worst-case scenarios, people may even lose their lives. Here, we’ll explore domestic violence in more detail, including a discussion of how to spot the signs of abuse and where to get help.
Domestic Violence Can Affect Anyone
Anyone can experience domestic violence, including people of all genders. In some countries, domestic violence is rationalized when there is suspicion of infidelity amongst partners. Some countries even legally permit domestic violence against a woman if there is any suspicion that they may have cheated on their husband. There is a correlation between countries that have higher gender equality and lower rates of domestic violence. Women tend to be survivors of domestic violence more often than men. However, due to traditional masculinity stereotypes, men may be less likely to report abuse than women due to shame or embarrassment.
When it comes to domestic violence, there is typically a cycle of abuse that takes place. Sometimes, when abuse is intergenerational, younger generations may subconsciously learn that abuse is normal or acceptable. In extreme cases, domestic violence might even be encouraged.
Many individuals don’t view themselves as survivors and may deny that they’re being abused at all. If an individual doesn’t believe they are experiencing abuse, they likely won’t report what is happening to them to friends, family members, or the authorities. Because the perception of those who are abused tends to be skewed, domestic violence is frequently underreported. Abuse must be viewed as just that before it can be reported and subsequently addressed.
The Cycle Of Abuse
Have you ever wondered why people choose to stay in abusive relationships? The simple answer is that their partner may not always be abusive. If a person is kind most of the time, there might not seem to be much reason to leave the partnership. The abusive individual might tell their partner that they’re crazy, that the abuse is imagined, and that they're “too sensitive.” Or they may tell them that they won’t be able to do any better and reinforce the idea that their partner is somehow “lucky” to be in a relationship with them.
If the survivor believes their significant other, they might believe they’re complaining for “no reason” or not being grateful enough. This can cause them to choose to stay in a toxic or abusive relationship, keeping them in a harmful dynamic and cycle of mistreatment.
Power And Control
Someone who is abusive may thrive on power and control and try to dominate or force others into doing what they want. They might use several techniques to accomplish their goal and get their way. For example, one method an abuser may use is to limit the financial resources of their partner. If the person who is being abused cannot access any money, they’re less likely to be able to leave the relationship. Further, if they can’t save their own money, they may find themselves staying in a toxic relationship.
Another method that might be utilized is belittling the significant other to the point where their self-esteem is low, and they don’t feel they deserve to be in a healthy relationship. Someone who is a survivor of domestic violence may come to believe that they are a bad person or partner. So, they continue to stay in a toxic relationship, believing they can’t do any better.
If the other person calls them out on their harmful behavior, questions what’s happening, or tries to fight back, the abusive individual may further gaslight them by pretending that things didn’t happen the way the person who was abused says they did. Those who have been exposed to gaslighting can often benefit from therapeutic intervention to restore their sense of sanity and self-esteem.
Healing From Domestic Violence With Online Therapy
If you or a loved one has experienced domestic violence, speaking to a licensed mental health professional could be useful. However, discussing sensitive topics like abuse can be challenging, which may make the idea of face-to-face therapy unappealing. With online therapy platforms like BetterHelp, individuals can meet with their therapist from anywhere at any time, including from their own homes.
Online therapy can provide a safe space for people who are survivors of domestic violence to process their feelings and find a sense of healing. Participants can choose between video chats, phone calls, or in-app messaging when connecting with their provider, giving them more flexibility and control over their therapeutic experience.
The Efficacy Of Online Therapy
Research has shown that trauma can deeply impact the body and mind, often leading to negative mental health consequences. Studies have assessed the efficacy of online therapy interventions in treating the effects of trauma and abuse, seeking to establish whether these virtual interventions are comparable to those offered in person. In one study, researchers assessed the effectiveness of therapy on survivors of intimate partner violence and found that participants experienced statistically significant reductions in symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Further, they saw improvements in their overall quality of life.
CBT is an approach to therapy that focuses on the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. As people learn how to identify their unhelpful thoughts and replace them with more productive thinking patterns, they can effectively change their feelings and behaviors to be more positive and helpful.
Domestic violence can impact people of all ages, genders, backgrounds, and identities. Its impact can be deep and long-lasting, negatively impacting the mental health and overall well-being of those exposed to it. Identifying the signs of domestic abuse can be one of the first steps to preventing and overcoming it. If you or a loved one are facing domestic violence, it can be essential to reach out for immediate support. You can read through the articles in this section to learn more about domestic abuse or meet with an online BetterHelp therapist to get more information about safely leaving an abusive relationship. Help is available – you are not alone.