Domestic abuse, also known as domestic violence or intimate partner violence, is a pattern of behavior used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner in any relationship. Abuse is defined as physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or psychological acts or threats against another person. Any behavior that frightens, intimidates, terrorizes, manipulates, hurts, humiliates, blames, injures, or wounds someone falls under this category. It can happen in a variety of relationships, including married, cohabiting, and dating couples. Domestic violence affects people from all walks of life and all levels of education.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, faith, or socioeconomic status. A child or other relative, as well as any other household member, can be a victim of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior directed at an intimate partner in a dating or family relationship, in which the abuser maintains power and control over the victim. Domestic violence can take the form of mental, physical, financial, or sexual abuse. Incidents are rarely isolated, and they tend to grow in frequency and severity over time. Domestic violence can result in serious physical harm or death.
Abuse among Teenagers
Intimate partner abuse among teenagers is on the rise. According to statistics on domestic violence in this age group, up to 12% of adolescents in grades 7 through 12 have been victims of physical dating violence, and 20% of youth have been victims of psychological dating violence. Victims of this abuse are at risk of engaging in risky sexual behavior, unhealthy eating habits, drug use, and suicidal behavior. Physical injury and death are two other possible outcomes. As adults, these victims are more likely to become victims of intimate partner violence.
Domestic Violence in Relationships
In abusive relationships, there is a cycle of behavior known as the cycle of violence. The tension-building, explosive, and tranquility/honeymoon stages are all part of this cycle. The tension-building stage of an abusive relationship is defined as the time when the abuser engages in lower-level abuse such as pushing, insulting, coercive behaviors, and escalating demands for control. Simultaneously, the victim of abuse often tries to appease the abuser to prevent the abuse from getting worse.
During the explosive stage of intimate partner violence, acts of abuse escalate to a severe level, manifesting as the most overt and serious acts of abuse and control, such as slapping, punching, impeding the victim’s movements, rape, or other forms of sexual violence. The tranquilly or honeymoon stage of the domestic violence cycle usually occurs after the overt acts of aggression of the explosive stage and is marked by the abuser appearing remorseful and apologetic for the abuse, making promises that it will never happen again, and lavishing affection on the victim.