What Is Domestic Violence?

domestic violence awareness month

Domestic violence, also called intimate partner abuse, is any unhealthy behavioral pattern used by one partner in a relationship to intimidate, control, humiliate or manipulate the other. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to shine the spotlight on the nationwide problem of intimate partner abuse and its ripple effects.

National Domestic Violence Statistics

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, this issue is so prevalent in the U.S. that more than 10 million adults experience harm from their partner each year. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are victims of some form of intimate partner abuse. Targets of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year.

Many experts have called intimate partner violence a “silent epidemic” within the COVID-19 pandemic because of the additional isolation, stress and economic uncertainties associated with it. While observing shelter-at-home orders and curfews implemented to prevent viral spread, victims had no easy way to escape from their abusers or report their situation to others.

Types of Domestic Violence

The phrase “intimate partner abuse” might conjure a mental image of an altercation that involves physical harm, such as pushing or hitting. While these incidents are common, domestic violence isn’t always physical – it can include various other actions that overpower the victim, keep them in fear and perpetuate a cycle of abuse.

  • Verbal: The primary intent of threats, insults and name-calling is to embarrass and belittle the victim. Constant exposure to verbal abuse may undermine your self-esteem until you begin questioning your self-worth.  
  • Financial: A financial abuser may keep their partner on a strict allowance, deny them access to shared accounts or spend large amounts without telling them.
  • Manipulation: Emotional manipulation is a toxic behavior that involves dishonesty to exploit or control another person. This form of abuse may include passive aggression, gaslighting and bullying.
  • Stalking: Stalking is a kind of harassment and control that showers the victim with unwelcome attention. While some stalking behaviors – like sending gifts – might seem well-intentioned, others are terrifying. Stalking can take place either in person or online.

The Link Between Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence

There’s an enduring misconception that substance use disorders only impact the addicted person. However, the grim reality is that addictive behavioral patterns will eventually harm the user’s loved ones. In some cases, that includes domestic violence. 

Over time, a worsening addiction can drastically change an addict’s personality and behavior. Someone under the influence might fly off the handle over seemingly minor issues or blurt out insulting or insensitive things they’d never say when sober. Often, partners and family members of substance abusers say their loved one has transformed into someone they no longer recognize.

Victims of intimate partner abuse might also start drinking or using drugs to provide a short-term escape from their trauma and torment. As a result, they may become physically or psychologically dependent on their substance of use, experiencing withdrawal symptoms and cravings when trying to quit.

Are You Experiencing Intimate Abuse or Addiction?

You deserve to have a healthy, happy and mutually beneficial intimate relationship. If your partner is mistreating you, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE as soon as possible. Their advocates can advise you on how to get help.

Canyon Crossing provides long-term addiction care for women, including transitional living and outpatient treatment. If you are dealing with issues such as trauma or a dual diagnosis, please contact us today to discover the benefits of women’s-only treatment.

Benefits of Residential AddictionTreatment

You cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick. This is the philosophy behind our residential addiction treatment program. At Canyon Crossing, women learn to live life on life’s terms while staying in a safe, substance-free setting. This gives our clients the space and peace needed for lasting recovery.
Our residential program combines high-accountability sober living arrangements with first-rate clinical care. While staying in our homes, clients participate in process groups, one-on-one counseling sessions, and hands-on learning opportunities. They also receive ongoing training; in these meetings, life skills like financial management and conflict resolution are imparted. All of this happens with 24/7 encouragement, guidance, and supervision from our clinical team.
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