One reason that people tend not to report domestic violence is simply that they aren't even sure that it really is what's happening. Even cases that feel obvious grow complicated when you're in a relationship with that person. Did he or she mean to hurt you or was it accidental? What other signs should you look for?
Here are eight different things that can be considered domestic violence:
- Physical abuse. This is what most people commonly think of as domestic violence, involving some sort of physical attack.
- Intimidation. The attack doesn't even have to happen if the person thinks it will.
- Humiliation. This is a type of emotional abuse, often done by belittling a person in front of others.
- Verbal abuse. This could include name-calling and other insults.
- Stalking. No physical contact has to be made.
- Cyberstalking. This is more common now with social media.
- Financial abuse. This could include restricting one person's access to a bank account, for instance, or taking the person's earnings from work and not letting that person use them.
- Mental and psychological abuse. This type of abuse may not leave any physical signs that are obvious to outsiders, but it can still be very damaging, especially when it goes on for a long time.
In many cases, multiple types of abuse will take place at once, and they could all contribute to an overall atmosphere of domestic violence in the home. Physical attacks could be accompanied by threats, insults and other controlling actions. It is important for those involved to know exactly what legal options are at their disposal.
Source: American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, "Domestic Violence and Abuse: Types, Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Effects," Tina de Benedictis, accessed Nov. 23, 2017