Domestic Violence - Its Forms and Where to Seek Help

Domestic violence is violence in a domestic setting, such as in marriage. It is often used as a synonym for ‘intimate partner violence’, which is committed by a partner against the other in a relationship. It can take place both in heterosexual and same-sex relationships.

Domestic Violence also involves violence against the children, parents as well as elders. 

It takes a number of forms- which include not only physical but also verbal, emotional or sexual abuse which can range from subtle form to marital rapes and violent abuse like choking, beating, female genital mutilation and even acid throwing which results in death.

Toxic relationships like abusive relationships always involve an imbalance of power and control. It is not easy to identify at first. While some relationships are abusive from the outset, abuse often starts subtly (the victim may brush it off in the beginning not knowing the magnitude of it all) and gets worse over time.


Forms of Domestic Violence 

1. Emotional Abuse- 

It often goes unrecognized but is very hurtful. A person who is emotionally abusive towards you wants to chip away your feelings of self-worth, self-esteem and independence.

2. Sexual Abuse- 

It covers rape, assault and a wide range of other unwanted sexual behaviours used as a way to control the victims.

3. Social Abuse- 

It occurs when someone insults and humiliates someone in front of everyone and keeps them isolated from family and friends, furthermore, the abuser controls nearly everything from what that person does to where they go and whom they talk to.

4. Physical Abuse- 

Wherein you are being hurt or threatened. It’s very important to know that you don’t want to stay and don’t want to deal with the relationship anymore.

Stop the Blame Game

You may not be ready to take any help or tell anyone about the problems you are facing because you think you’re at least partially to be blamed for the abuse you are facing in the relationship. Reasons may include-

1. Your partner blames you- for the violence in the relationship. Abusive partners rarely take accountability for their actions and may even make the victims feel guilty for their actions.

2. You have acted out against your partner- yelling, pushing, or hitting during the conflicts. You may think you are being abusive but the truth is, it’s much likely that you acted in self-defence or emotional distress and the abuser may blame you for their crimes.

3. Abusers only exhibit abusive behaviour with their victims- abusers are concerned with the outward appearances and their public image, they don’t often show signs of violence or abuse in front of others. 

They might seem charming and stable to the outsiders. This may force you to believe that your partner’s actions can only be explained by something that you’ve done.

Pregnancy, Children and Abuse

Domestic violence increases or begins – during pregnancy, putting mother and baby’s health at risk. This continues even after child-birth or after the baby is born.

Even if your child isn’t abused but simply witnessing domestic violence can also be very harmful. Children who grow up in abusive homes are more likely to be abused and have behavioural problems in their lives. 

In many cases, the children who witness domestic violence turns out to be the abusers themselves in the future, because this is what they are learning. They have a very bad mental effect by watching the violence and think that abuse is a part of a relationship.

You may think that telling the truth about the horrors of your relationship will endanger you or your child and it might break your family but seeking help is the best way to protect yourself and your children.

Break the Cycle

You might recognize the following pattern if you are in an abusive relationship-

1. Abuser threatens violence

2. Abuser strikes

3. Abuser apologizes, promises to change

4. And the cycle repeats

Violence becomes more frequent over time. The longer you are in an abusive relationship the greater the emotional and physical toll on the victims.

You might get depressed and start doubting yourself. You feel helpless and the only way to feel better, to feel alive is to get out of that relationship as soon as possible.

Where to Seek Help

The following points can also help-

1. Visit the (National Commission for Women) NCW website- This will help you learn about whom or what helpline you can call for legal aid, women in distress and counselling services.

2. Contact A local women’s shelter- Shelters and crisis centres provide 24-hours emergency as well as advice on legal matters and provide support.

3. Check Out Counselling or Mental Health Centers- Seek counselling and help from several support groups for women in an abusive relationship that is now available nearly everywhere in the world.

4. Talk to or contact Someone you Trust- Turn to your family, or a friend or co-worker or anyone with whom you can talk about what all you are going through and seek for help. 

Keeping up things to yourself and not sharing your feelings and condition of what all is happening to you will only create more problems for your self.

Remember that it’s never okay for someone to hurt you or threaten you. The best thing you can do is get out of that relationship and to get some support to help you and provide some sort of safety. 

Reconnect with your friends and family, who reminds you of who you are, how special, how strong you are and how much other people love and care for you. Always remember you are love and are made for love. Never settle for anything less. Know your worth.

Written by - Harshita Negi 

Edited by - Ivanova