Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
Dating violence is defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship is determined based on the following factors:
length of the relationship
type of relationship
frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship
Types of Domestic/Dating Violence
Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.
Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life - therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society's next generation of victims and abusers.
Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc. are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.
Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, treating one in a sexually demeaning manner and controlling reproduction by sabotaging methods of birth control.
Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.
Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money, or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.
Elements of psychological abuse include - but are not limited to - causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner's family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.
Sources: National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Center for Victims of Crime, and WomensLaw.org.
Am I a victim of domestic or dating violence?
Does your partner get jealous when you go out or talk with others?
Does your partner frighten or intimidate you?
Does your partner put you down, but then tell you he/she loves you?
Does your partner try to impose restrictions on the way you dress or your appearance?
Have you been held down, shoved, pushed, hit, kicked or had things thrown at you by your partner?
Are you afraid to break up with your partner because of fear for your personal safety?
Has your partner forced or intimated you into having sex?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you may be a victim of domestic or dating violence.
Domestic/Dating Violence Statistics
Nearly 3 in 10 women in the United States (29% or approximately 34.3 million) have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.
About 1 in 10 men in the United States (10% or an estimated 11.2 million) has experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.
Nearly 1 in 3 women (30%) in the United States has been slapped, pushed or shoved by an intimate partner at some point in her lifetime. This translates to approximately 36.2 million women in the United States.
Approximately 1 in 4 men in the United States (26% or about 29 million) has been slapped, pushed or shoved by an intimate partner in his lifetime
Approximately 1 in 4 women in the United States (24%) has experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime, translating to nearly 29 million women.
Nearly 1 in 7 men in the United States (14% or approximately 15.6 million) has experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner in his lifetime.
In 2014, the state of Texas reported the following family violence data:
Number of incidents: 185,817
Number of victims: 201,051
Number of offenders: 195,111
The breakdown for our surrounding counties is as follows:
Fort Bend County: 3,056
Harris County: 32,875
Liberty County: 503
Montgomery County: 2,807
San Jacinto: 297
Walker County: 419
Waller County: 230
Source: Texas Department of Public Safety, Crime in Texas 2014
According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, 152 women were killed by their intimate partner in 2014.
The breakdown for our surrounding counties is as follows:
Fort Bend County: 2
Harris County: 23
Liberty County: 0
Montgomery County: 2
San Jacinto: 0
Walker County: 0
Waller County: 0
Source: Texas Council on Family Violence, Honoring Texas Victims 2014
How can I help a friend who is being abused?
Acknowledge your friend is in a difficult and scary situation – Let your friend know she/he is not alone.
Be supportive – Listen and be available. Remember it may be difficult for your friend to talk about the abuse.
Be non-judgmental – Respect your friend’s decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. Do not criticize the choice to stay.
Don’t be afraid to show you are concerned –Describe what you see is going on and that you want to help. Let your friend know she/he deserves a healthy, nonviolent relationship.
If your friend breaks up with the abuser, continue to be supportive – Your friend may feel sad or lonely and be tempted to return to the abuser.
Encourage your friend to talk to professionals who can offer support – LSCS has resources such as the police, Counseling Services, and Human Resources. They can also direct you to other resources that can assist.