Domestic violence is one of the most serious problems in the United States. Costing more than $37 billion per year in legal work, medical treatment, mental health services, criminal justice involvement, and lost work productivity, it affects both men and women. In fact, one in four American women will be the victims of domestic violence during their lives, while more than 3 million men also find themselves victims of abuse as well. While domestic violence takes many forms, it’s crucial to recognize the signs that determine if you are indeed a victim.
Despite what many people think, domestic violence occurs in all types of relationships. Heterosexual couples, same-sex couples, and even roommates can become involved in these destructive relationships. However, the one common denominator in all these relationships is that the abuser’s goal is total control over the other person. In most cases, a combination of tactics that result in fear and intimidation are used to gain control.
Needless to say, if you are being physically abused by a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or even a child, a case for domestic violence may be present. Elder abuse, a growing problem in the United States, also qualifies as domestic violence. As stated before, roommate relationships can also become situations of domestic violence. If one roommate physically or emotionally abuses another, the relationship is one that qualifies as domestic violence.
Thoughts and Feelings
No matter the relationship, victims of domestic violence find themselves with many similar thoughts and feelings. For example, people who find themselves constantly in fear of their partner are usually domestic violence victims. Other factors include feelings of helplessness, avoiding topics or actions for fear of retaliation by the other partner, and even believing they deserve the treatment they are receiving. Meanwhile, the abuser blames the other person for all the problems in the relationship, regularly yells or throws violent temper tantrums, constantly criticizes and belittles, and embarrasses the victim in front of family and friends.
Also qualifying as domestic violence are various forms of sexual abuse. Forced sex, even between spouses or another person with whom previous consensual sex has occurred, can qualify as domestic violence. In fact, any unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is considered an act of aggression and violence, and can therefore by determined to be domestic violence.
Contact an Attorney
Once a domestic violence victim has safely removed themselves from the situation, it’s imperative they contact a domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. In addition to helping the victim weave their way through the criminal justice process, the attorney can also assist with restraining or protective orders as well as future personal injury cases that may be filed.