Did you know? Domestic violence comes in different forms

Did you know? Domestic violence comes in different forms

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. It can take many forms and is present across all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

When most people hear the words “domestic violence,” they think of direct physical violence perpetrated against a victim. Although this can be very true, there are a variety of other behaviors that are identified as domestic violence:

  • Financial abuse is using money or access to money as a way to manipulate and control another person and to inflict psychological distress. Examples may include taking money, denying money, restricting access to household finances and stealing money or possessions.
  • Sexual abuse is forcing or coercing someone to engage in sexual behavior. This can include engaging in sexual behaviors when one of the people involved is unable to consent due to intoxication, mental illness or age. Sexual abuse can also be sexual behavior in which one person believes they are consenting to a certain set of behaviors while the other person intends to violate the initially agreed upon consent. An example of this is video recording a sexual act without the full consent and knowledge of the people involved. Another example would be “stealthing,” in which during consensual sexual behavior, the male wearing the condom removes it during intercourse without the knowledge and consent of the other person.
  • Emotional abuse, verbal abuse and mental abuse take many of the same forms, with the primary intention to control, degrade and punish. Some examples include calling someone names, putting them down, habitually blaming and scapegoating, intimidating through yelling or threats, threatening to destroy pets or personal belongings, stonewalling or using children or grandchildren to control another person.

As providers of domestic violence treatment, we have seen an increase in abusive behaviors perpetrated via social media, smartphones and other forms of electronic communication. Some examples include sending multiple, unsolicited text messages of a harassing nature or using social media such as Snapchat to identify a person’s location for the purpose of stalking.

Other examples of the use of social media to inflict emotional abuse may include the posting of harassing statements, threats, embarrassing images or other forms of sabotage on Facebook in order to inflict emotional pain. Another relatively new example that has been highlighted in the media is revenge porn, in which sexually explicit images of an individual are released without their consent via social media in order to humiliate, degrade, extort and exploit a current or past intimate partner.

As we move into Domestic Violence Awareness Month, our goal is to promote awareness of the various forms of domestic violence. With the ever-changing landscape that is social media and electronic communication, it is even more important to understand how these mechanisms are being exploited and used to commit acts of abuse.

Regardless of what mechanism is used to perpetrate domestic violence, the end result is emotional and physical abuse. The end goal of promoting awareness and providing treatment services to both victims and perpetrators is to promote our belief in “No More Victims.”

Bryan DeNure, LCPC and Nisa Johnson, LCSW provide domestic violence evaluations as well as individual and group treatment for domestic violence at Advocate Medical Group Behavioral Health in Bloomington, Ill.

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  1. You forgot to mention fake abuse in your article. Women in general love to portray themselves as victims. This is especially true is these present times with the overdone emphasis on women’s rights. In today’s present culture, women are automatically believed no matter what the accusation they are leveling at the man. Women are natural born liars, and get a false sense of power by gossiping about someone to try to defame his reputation. Women love to put on a good drama. You didn’t cover that in your article, did you? In the courts, any good judge with years of experience at the bench knows that what I’ve said is true, especially if the judge is a woman. I have no respect for your trendy article. It is full of prejudice.

    • Your comment is very derogatory to anyone that is in an abusive relationship or has been in one. The abusers like to blame the victims. This comment is very hurtful.

    • After working in the domestic violence field for more than 10 years, it seems pretty obvious that you are abusive and should seek help.

  2. Great article in my opinion. I don’t think the intent is to be divisive in saying that only men are abusers. Huh, that is far from the truth. Abusers are not gender exclusive to men only. I know women who abuse as well. However, if this article touches a nerve in the “wrong way”, perhaps there is a need to do some soul searching and ask oneself the question of whether the shoe fits and what’s the next step for them. It would be to admit you are an abuser and you need help stat. It’s abusive to blame someone else or even point the finger thinking that it’s not you….it’s them. If one take the time to “know thyself” and the things that “hook, line and sinker” his/her own character, then one can look at others differently through the eyes of faith, hope and love and be delivered from one’s own demons.

  3. Brian Penrose, wow dude, you have some serious issues.

  4. I don’t see anywhere in this article where it says that one gender is responsible for more abuse than the other, or that one gender abuses and the other does not. I see it as educating people about the different types of abuse to look out for. Not which gender to look out for.

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Dr. Bryan Denure and Dr. Nisa Johnson