What is domestic violence? It’s a term often misused or misunderstood in today’s society. The United States Department of Justice defines it as a pattern of abuse behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.
It can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating. Studies show that at least one in four women will be abused by an intimate partner at some point in her life, so even if you don’t experience it yourself, it is likely you know someone who has.
Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has substantial effects on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community. New studies are showing significant negative effects on children who grow up witnessing domestic violence.
Specific domestic violence counseling should occur for everyone in the family who is significantly affected by the violence. This includes parents, children, perhaps grandparents or roommates. Counseling permits sharing in a safe and supportive environment. Educational aspects are formulated around support systems, healthy relationships, power and control, the cycle of violence, children and domestic violence, awareness and recognition, assessment of roles, stress management, healthy communication, parenting, etc.
Here are some questions to consider when determining if you may be involved in an abusive relationship. Use this screening tool to help you determine if you need to see a counselor to help successfully resolve this.
- Do you lie to your family, friends, and doctor about bruises, scratches, and cuts?
- Does your partner threaten to harm you?
- Does your partner check up on what you have been doing? Do they believe your answers?
- Do you feel anxious or nervous when you are around your partner?
- Does your partner threaten you if you try to leave him/her?
- Do you feel that nothing is ever good enough for your partner?
- Do you try to please your partner rather than yourself in order to avoid being hurt?
- Have you lost important relationships like friends and family because or your partner’s behavior?
- Does your partner prevent you from leaving the home, using the telephone, seeking friends and family, or otherwise control your activities?
- Does your partner destroy your possessions or harm things you value, including pets?
- Has your partner ever assaulted you (punched, kicked, hit, pushed)?
- Do you want help to keep yourself and children safe?
If you need to talk with a counselor about possible domestic violence, please call or email us at 303-353-9226 or email@example.com to schedule an appointment. We are here for you!
-Blog post by Stephanie Fillmore, MA, MFT, CACI