What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence (DV) is when one person in a relationship uses violent or abusive behavior to control another. This behavior may include:
- physical abuse
- damage to property
- sexual abuse
- verbal abuse
- harassment, threats or intimidation
- financial abuse
- elder abuse
- animal abuse
DV does not just occur between spouses. Other relationships offered protection under Ohio laws include:
- romantic or sexual dating relationship
- having a child in common
- spouse or former spouse
- party is pregnant by other party
- persons residing, or having resided, in same household
- child who resides, or has resided, in same household
- parent, grandparent, grandchild, stepchild, brother or sister
Who does it affect?
DV affects people of every culture, class, education level, income level, ethnicity and age.
How do I recognize it?
Early warning signs can include:
- control what the partner wears
- constantly checking up on who their partner sees or where they are going
- control the partner’s spending
- constantly text or call the partner
- say things to belittle the partner
- place blame on the partner if something goes wrong
- force sex on the partner
Some indicators of increased risk include:
- recent separation
- escalation of attacks
- antisocial behavior of the abuser
- depression of the victim
- substance abuse
Why don’t they leave?
Some of the common reasons for not leaving are:
- fear of reprisal
- shame or humiliation
- abusers blame the victim
- abusers threaten the victim, the children, the family and/or the pets
- loss of financial support for victim and children
What can I do as a friend, co-worker, neighbor or family member?
Always contact the police if someone’s life is in danger.
Listening and offering support are often the first steps in helping the victim. Saying, “I’m afraid for your safety/safety or your children,” or “I’m here for you when you are read and able to leave” can help.
Acknowledge that no one deserves to be hurt. Guide the victim to community services and help them develop a safety plan. Education yourself about DV to find out how to best help them.
What if I am being abused?
Talk to someone. The abuser’s power comes from the secrecy. Tell a friend, neighbor or family member, or call the National Domestic Violence 24-hour Hotline to speak with a counselor.
Develop a safety plan and know what you will do if victimized again. Put important papers in a place where you can access them quickly.