What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a systematic pattern of coercive behavior used by one family member over another in order to gain and maintain power & control. It may include physical, sexual, economic, psychological, and emotional abuse.
How people relate to one another. Abuse is not random acts of violence. It is a pattern of coercive behavior that escalates over time and that typically follows a cycle of tension- building, explosion, and honeymoon phases.
Includes the following: people who are related by blood or marriage; people who are separated or divorced; people who have a child in common; unrelated people who on a continuous/regular interval are living together; unrelated people who have had intimate/social contact and who have or have had access to the household.
Power & Control:
The goal of the abuser.
Involves the use of any physical act in order to harm, frighten, and gain control over another person. Common examples include: slapping, pushing, kicking, strangling, throwing objects, pinching, spitting, pulling hair, restraining, punching, breaking bones, abandoning in an unsafe place, using an object or weapon, and murder.
Involves any forced sexual contact, whether by coercion (psychological force), physical force, threats or ignoring the other person's rights and requests. Examples include unwanted sexual commentary or gestures, touching, forcing partner to commit any sexual act against his/her will (including sex with others, pornography, videotaping, use of objects), engaging in sexual acts when partner is impaired (sleeping, injured, under the influence of drugs or alcohol), or unable to say no for whatever reason (e.g. doesn't speak the same language, is hearing/speech impaired, has been deemed developmentally impaired). Rape does occur in the context of a marriage, it is referred to as marital rape.
Involves control of finances to include denying access to family assets, forcing a partner to account for all the money he/she spends, taking money, preventing a partner from getting or keeping a job or going to school.
Refers to attacking someone's self-worth and self-esteem. Examples include name-calling, put-downs, constant criticisms, and humiliation in private or public.
Refers to attacking someone's self-worth and self-esteem. The attack is on the whole person. Examples include threats to harm partner or other family members, monitoring (stalking), isolation, interrupting eating/sleep patterns, degradation, humiliation, objectification, breaking down one's belief system, destruction of property and pets, and controlling with fear.
Power and Control Wheel - by permission, Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
206 West 4th Street, Duluth, MN 55806