THE
ISSUES


Domestic Violence

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS THE INCREASING FREQUENT AND SEVERE CYLE OF:
   • PHYSICAL ABUSE
   • VERBAL ABUSE
   • EMOTIONAL ABUSE
   • PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE
   • SPIRITUAL ABUSE
   • SEXUAL ABUSE
   • STALKING

FOR THE PURPOSE OF:
   • INTIMIDATION
   • INSTILLING FEAR
   • CONTROLLING BEHAVIOR

This definition, one used by the domestic violence movement, is much broader in scope than the legal definition.  This is because our laws, as they currently are written, force us to acknowledge only the aftermath of physical violence when there are bruises, broken bones, gunshot wounds, or corpses.

Those of us who work with victims know that the cycle of violence includes all the above-mentioned kinds of violence.  Although verbal and emotional violence leave no marks, the scars they leave on the psyche often last years after the bruises have faded.  These effects serve to immobilize victims and increase the likelihood that they will remain in the relationship.

These are the very kinds of abuse that the criminal-justice system does not recognize and for which it offers virtually no assistance.  It is important to remember that the purpose of battering is to instill fear, intimidate and control behavior, not to leave bruises.  Some of the most effective batterers do not beat.  They do not have to because their threats and their looks, directed at partners, children and pets, serve the very same purpose to control behavior through fear and to keep their victims trapped in the batterers’ cycle of violence.