What Different Types Of Domestic Violence Are There?

Updated February 28, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault

Content/Trigger Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include sexual assault & violence which could potentially be triggering.

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The chances are that you've heard of domestic violence before, but do you know about all of the different types of it? Most people know that someone can be mentally or physically abused, but there are several different kinds of domestic violence that an abuser can use to make their victim feel inferior, incapable or weak. Any of these types of domestic violence can be extremely dangerous to the victim and can affect them in more ways than even they realize.

What Is Domestic Violence?

In short, domestic violence is any type of behavior that one intimate or domestic partner uses to control or intimidate the other. The victim could be male or female, and the relationship could be homosexual or heterosexual. No matter what type of relationship it is, if one partner is being treated badly by the other, it means that there is likely some form of domestic violence happening. It's important to get help if this ever happens and to understand that there are several different ways that domestic violence can and does affect a relationship.

Types Of Domestic Violence

Keep in mind that any of these forms of domestic violence are dangerous and that each of them changes the way that you feel about yourself and the people around you. If you are a victim of one or of several of these types of domestic violence, it's important to get professional help not only from the police but also from a lawyer and mental health professional. Don't underestimate the importance of a strong support system in the way of family and friends either. The more people you have on your team, the better you're going to do.

Physical Abuse

This is the type of abuse that people know about the most because it's the one that leaves the most obvious marks. This is any type of physical assault on a person, such as kicking, choking, slapping, stabbing or shooting. It can cause a minor injury or a major injury or maybe it doesn't even cause an injury at all. If your partner lays a hand on you, it's considered domestic violence. But what some don't know is that forcing you to use drugs is a type of physical abuse as well.

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Emotional Abuse

In this type of abuse, the abuser is attacking the way that the partner feels about themselves. It may take the form of constant insults, humiliation, and criticism. This type of abuse can be difficult to prove and even more difficult to prosecute, but it can also be extremely dangerous to the victim. By changing the way that the victim feels about themselves the abuser is usually able to keep a stronger hold over them and manages to exact other forms of domestic violence. Emotional abuse usually happens alongside some other form of abuse.

Sexual Abuse

When you are in a relationship with someone you are not required to have sex. That means that not all sex that occurs within the relationship is automatically considered consensual. You have full control and authority over your own body. Sexual assault, rape, harassment or demeaning behaviors can all be considered sexual abuse. Even forcing you to use or not to use contraception or to get an abortion or not get an abortion is considered a form of domestic violence. You have complete control over your own body, so it's important to make sure that your partner is not trying to take advantage.

Financial Abuse

A partner who keeps the other partner from getting a job, getting an education or having access to finances is committing financial abuse. While pooling money into a single bank account may be considered normal, if one partner does not have access to it or is punished for taking the money it is financial abuse as well. Denying partner money for food, clothing or any other needs is abuse, and it is a way of keeping control and keeping the partner from leaving. If you have no access to money, it's difficult to get away.

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Psychological Abuse

Any behavior that intimidates or threatens a partner is considered psychological abuse. This type of behavior has to be considered persistent to be abused but could include preventing someone to talk to friends or relatives, threatening violence or harm or keeping the victim in the home. The abuser will generally threaten specific harm or behavior if the victim does not do specific things that they want or if they do specific things the abuser does not want. This type of abuse can also be very difficult to prove because there is no physical sign, but it is very damaging.

The Effects Of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can have many different effects on the victim. The most obvious are the physical injuries that can occur, whether bruises, scratches, cuts, broken bones, damage to internal organs or anything else, there is a great deal of physical harm that can come about from domestic violence. Domestic abusers have even been known to kill their victims or to cause serious harm that can result in permanent damage or disfigurement. These physical wounds may or may not heal over time, but the damage they leave behind is more than physical.

Emotional and psychological damage is done whether the abuser purposely engages in this type of abuse or not. That's because the act of being physically or sexually abused or even financially abused can cause damage to the mental state of the victim. The victim may feel like they deserve the abuse because of things the abuser says, which leads to a lowered self-image and can lead to anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions. Anything that causes you to feel bad about yourself or to doubt your abilities or the things that you deserve at a basic level is abuse by your partner.

The results of domestic violence can last far longer than the relationship does. The things that an abuser says to you can stay with you for years or even for a lifetime. The memory of the situation that you were in and the words continue to replay itself in your mind over and over again. Even if you enter into a healthy relationship in the future, it's difficult to get rid of the thoughts and feelings that came along with the other relationship. That's why getting mental health therapy is so important.

Legal Help For Domestic Violence

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you may have legal rights as well. You can contact a lawyer to find out more about your rights when it comes to leaving your partner and getting protection from them in the future. A lawyer will be able to explain how the law works and what you should do next to make sure that you are safe. Whether that means getting a restraining order or filing for divorce or anything else that you need, they can walk you through the process. It's an important aspect of healing.

Getting Mental Health Treatment

Treatment for the mental effects of abuse is crucial if you are to overcome what your abuser has done fully. This type of treatment will focus on the way that you feel and how to change those feelings and perceptions to be healthier. Therapy will help you to understand that the things your abuser has told you are untrue and will help you to internalize things that are true about yourself, your potential and your future. There is so much more than you can and will do without your abuser, but it can take help from someone outside the situation to help you see it.

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Finding the right therapist is a crucial aspect of your treatment and your recovery. It requires you to do a little bit of research to find someone that you can feel comfortable with and also someone that will provide you with the assistance that you need. One of the best ways to get more variety and versatility to the therapist you choose is to look at an online service that connects you with therapists throughout the country. BetterHelp is one of those therapy programs that gives you everything you need online, where you can be more comfortable with the sessions you attend.

Each session is conducted wherever you feel most comfortable, and that makes it easier to open up. When you've been through abuse, it can be difficult to open up to someone, but when you can do it in a comfortable chair or at your table, you'll feel much more comfortable with the process. It feels like having a conversation in your home, with someone that you trust. Online therapy also makes sure you don't have to miss a session even if you happen to be in a different place and you don't have to choose a new therapist if you decide to move.

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