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Help for survivors of abuse, with definitions, myths, facts, causes, effects and solutions for both victims and abusers. Also included are pages to specifically address child abuse, incest, sexual abuse, rape and elder abuse.

Domestic Violence is one of the most common and most serious of crimes, yet most go unreported.  If you've come here to learn how to help a friend or loved one who is a victim, or to learn how to mange your domestic violence situation and how to recover, you know I'm not overstating the issue.  I remember, as a child, waking up one Christmas morning, after crying myself to sleep.  The noises I heard from my bedroom scared me...breaking things, pounding, yelling.  When I left my room, I saw the Christmas tree tipped over, the new console TV wasn't in the living room, it was broken in the garage.  My mother had black eyes, swollen lips, and bruise marks on her arms that I knew, even at my young age, matched my father's hand print, where he must have yanked her around.  We, the children weren't attacked in any way, but we were harmed.  If you're looking for domestic violence directed at children, visit our pages Child Abuse Facts and Child Sexual Abuse.  Mine was what you would call a classic domestic violence situation, where the man was the aggressor and everyone in the family walked lightly and trembled. Here are the recent top-selling books on domestic violence facts.

You'll learn, as I have, that our stereotypes for domestic violence need updating if we think it's always the man.  We'll cover the different types of domestic violence, the myths and facts, some causes and effects, and then offer some solutions to your domestic violence situation.  Let's start with this one has to live in a violent situation...and no one should.  We'll discuss what that looks like later in this article.

Definition of Domestic Violence:

Many of you are probably asking, "What is domestic violence?" Really, most want to know if something they did or something did to them is domestic violence.  The short answer is, if you're asking the question, it probably is.  Domestic violence is any action designed to harm another member of the family.  Here are some examples to help apply the definition:
Verbal Abuse:  This is not fun joking or gotcha' type play, but serious language designed to hurt, insult, demean another, usually expressed by yelling or screaming.  Cusswords are almost always present, along with accusations, name-calling and threats.  Even if it's difficult to prove in court, words often are very violent actions.
Emotional and Mental Abuse:  This cruel form of domestic violence is the most difficult to define because it literally is in the perception of the abused and the intent of the abuser.  The abuser gets to know which "buttons" to push and then pushes them to the extreme.  The most obvious example is from a woman I helped leave her husband.  He never hit her or yelled at her or threatened her in any way.  He disagreed with everything she said, and repeatedly expressed to her a long list of ways she fell short in her duties to him.  She worked odd hours as a nurse, and so, couldn't cook, clean or even sleep on a regular schedule.  Since he felt these were her duties (though he didn't work), he would see to it she was awake to perform them.  Of the many tricks he used, the one that sickened me most was when he would wait for her to nod off to sleep and put a metal pan next to her ear and pound it with a spoon to let her know she should be cooking.  Mental and emotional abuse are literally torture carried out by a sick person who doesn't care in the least for the victim.
Physical Abuse:  This is any form of physical threat or actual physical harm done to the victim.  If the abuser throws something, threatens menacingly, or even if they break furniture or pound holes in the wall, it is all physical abuse.  I suppose they might legally classify some of it as mental abuse, but I feel the real threat of bodily harm is as much physical abuse as the actual harm...kinda' like assault and battery.  

Domestic Violence Myths and Facts:

There are a couple myths about domestic violence that I would like to replace with the facts.  The first myth is that all spousal abuse is done by men to women.  This is not true!  In fact, you can't even say that most spousal abuse is done by men to women.  Women have truly achieved equality in the area of spousal abuse.  To be fair, there is a disparity in the number of reported cases and in the cases where the female is the victim, there is usually more damage.  Still, there is as high an incidence of male victim spousal abuse as female.  A friend of mine finally filed divorce after more than ten years of violent attacks by his wife.  She hit him, threw dishes and knives at him and attacked him any way she could, whether the children were there or not.  Her attacks were so frequent and violent, when they vacated their house, he had to have the wallboard replaced (not just patched) in almost all the rooms. His experience should dispel the myth that domestic violence is only against women.  If you're a female victim, this doesn't minimize your just says you're not alone.  Having counseled many families, I find it sad that I can find thousands of books to help women victims, but none for men. 

Another popular myth is that children are always the victims of domestic violence.  In fact, Teen Domestic Violence is on the rise in the US, probably due in large part to our increase in single parent families and the popular choice of tolerance over discipline for our children.  Many parents, male and female, are being violently abused by their teenage children, male and female.  These usually don't get reported until the violence reaches a point where the parents literally fear for their lives.  Of course, the other children are getting abused as well, with no one to go to for help...the parents are afraid.  Just as younger and younger children are committing horrific crimes, they are committing many of them on their family first.

Completed at Domestic Violence Facts-2

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