Every nine seconds in the Unites States, a woman is beaten or assaulted, and up to 10 million children witness some domestic violence annually. Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, is defined as a pattern of behavior in a relationship that individuals use to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Another definition is physical or emotional abuse directed at partners, children, siblings or elders.

Domestic violence may occur to anyone belonging to any race, sexual orientation, age, religion or gender. It may happen to married couples who live together or ones that are still dating. It affects people from different education levels and socioeconomic backgrounds.

You may be wondering what causes such violence.

Causes of Domestic Violence

The need to control and dominate others may arise due to:

• Low self-esteem
• Extreme jealousy
• Poor anger management capabilities
• Feelings of inferiority chiefly due to an inferior education or socioeconomic background
• Traditional beliefs where men or women think that they have a right to control their partners and that their partners are not equal to them
• Judgment and reasoning impairment due to drug abuse

Domination is often in the form of physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological abuse. It includes behavior that frightens, intimidates, terrorizes, manipulates humiliates, blames and wounds someone. Studies show that there is a relation between violent behavior and interaction of situational and individual factors. That is to say, abusers learn from family, community and cultural influences. They may have seen or may have been victims themselves of this kind of violence. Alcohol and other chemical substances may contribute to domestic violence.

Types of Domestic Abuse

The following types of domestic abuse are common in our modern societies.

Physical Abuse

This form of ill-treatment may be seen when an individual damages property when angry, or ends up pushing, biting, slapping, choking or kicking you. The abuser may also abandon you in dangerous and unfamiliar areas. He or she may threaten you by driving recklessly or use a weapon to hurt or threaten you. Such a person may force you to leave your home or get you trapped and keep you from leaving while at the same time may prevent you from calling the police or seeking medical assistance.

Emotional Abuse

An abusive partner may call you names, insult you or criticize you continuously. He or she may not trust you, and, as a result, may become jealous or possessive. Such a partner may try to isolate you from your friends and family and may monitor where you go, who you visit, call or spend time with. He or she may also withhold affection and threaten to hurt you, your children or family.

Financial Abuse

A financial abuser may stalk you or harass you at your workplace. He or she may control how your money is spent, deny you access to bank accounts, withhold money or merely give you allowances. The abuser may also accumulate hefty debts on joint accounts and demand your public benefits.

Sexual Abuse

A sexual abuser views women or men as objects and has a stereotypical ideology about gender roles. He or she may accuse you of cheating or may be jealous of your outside relationships. The abuser may want you to dress in a sexually appealing way and may call you sexual names or insult you in sexual ways. Such individuals may force or manipulate you into performing sexual acts or having sex with them. They may also rape you or force you to have sex when you are tired, sick, or after beating you. They may involve other people in having sex with you or may ignore your sexual feelings and deny you sex.

Spiritual Abuse

This type of ill-treatment occurs when the abuser denies, ridicules or minimizes your religious beliefs. He or she may question your sense of reality and prohibit you from practicing your religious beliefs such as praying, reading your Bible or going to church.

Such forms of abuse have ways in which they can be minimized or abolished altogether.

Prevention of Domestic Abuse

The following tips will help to prevent domestic violence:

• Report all cases of domestic abuse to the police. This will contribute to preventing injury and will encourage the parties to seek help such as counseling or support groups
• Notify public officials and let them know how you feel and what you are going through
• Support violence prevention efforts at all levels in your community and country
• Refuse to accept or promote abusive activities in your vicinity
• Enter into a non-violence agreement with your family members and make the rules as a family
• Resolve conflicts by talking about your problems
• Be aware that your children learn from what they see you doing. So, show them by your actions that violence is not a healthy lifestyle
• Do not fear to seek help if you and your partner or any other person are having problems or are feeling overwhelmed by your problems• Develop a positive view of yourself and talk positively to yourself. Use affirmations to overcome the negative comments you receive from those who abuse you. Instead, do the things you love and enjoy
• Emotional abuse may cause depression. For this reason, seek help from a qualified mental health practitioner
• If the abusive relationship is not getting resolved, you may have to end the relationship if possible. You may need to seek legal help such as from Blumenauer Hackworth to have restraining orders from the court to protect you against the abusive individual

Domestic violence is a painful way to live, and you need to apply the above tips to prevent it. Seek the help before you become an emotional wreck.

Author's Bio: 

Karleia is a freelance blogger.