Domestic violence affects far too many individuals and families in the United States. Such behavior is not acceptable in American society even though it is normal in many other cultures. It can have severe consequences for many people.
Domestic violence refers to the physical, emotional or psychological abuse inflicted upon a partner or family member.
Various types of domestic violence
Domestic violence often involves physical harm. For example, in New Jersey, almost 36% of women and nearly 28% of men experience intimate partner physical violence, rape or stalking at some point.
- Physical Abuse: Examples include hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, choking or using objects as weapons
- Emotional or Psychological Abuse: This form of abuse involves manipulating, controlling or undermining a person’s emotional well-being, often through constant criticism, humiliation, intimidation, threats and isolation from friends and family
- Verbal Abuse: Examples include yelling, screaming, name-calling, insulting and making derogatory comments to degrade, belittle or threaten a person
- Reproductive Coercion: This involves one partner pressuring the other into unwanted pregnancy or birth control decisions, such as tampering with birth control methods or threatening to leave
- Stalking: Stalking can occur both in physical and digital spaces through a pattern of unwanted attention, following or surveillance, such as constant phone calls, text messages or showing up uninvited at a person’s home or workplace
- Isolation: Spouses may isolate their partners emotionally, socially or geographically from friends and family, making it difficult for them to seek help or support
Financial abuse can overlap with domestic violence. One partner controls the finances of the other, limiting their access to money or resources. This can involve withholding money, preventing them from working or forcing them to hand over their earnings.
Domestic violence is against the law in all states. It is a violation of a person’s rights and a breach of trust within a relationship or family unit. U.S. laws protect people and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions, even though laws in many other countries might not. Perpetrators can face various legal consequences, including restraining orders, fines and even imprisonment.
Many people witness abusive behavior or suspect that someone is experiencing domestic violence. You can call the police or simply offer support. Inaction can perpetuate the cycle of abuse. Everyone plays a role in breaking the cycle.