Around one-third of California women and men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner each year, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. However, domestic abuse can involve more than just physical violence. Perpetrators may also use emotional abuse, threats and controlling behaviors to maintain power over their partners.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is the willful use of intimidation, coercion, threats, emotional abuse, physical violence or sexual violence by one partner against another partner. It can involve one incident or a pattern of incidents.
Anyone can find themselves in an abusive relationship, including women, men, unmarried partners, married partners and same-sex partners. Victims and perpetrators can be wealthy or poor and come from any ethnicity or cultural background.
Common types of physical abuse:
- Hitting, slapping or punching
- Hair pulling
- Forced use of drugs or alcohol
- Denial of medical care
- Sexual abuse
Common types of emotional or psychological abuse:
- Constant criticizing
- Isolating partner from family, friends or coworkers
- Threatening violence against partner or others
- Harming children, pets or property
- Denying access to money
The impact of domestic abuse
Without help, people subjected to domestic abuse can suffer a number of emotional and physical traumas, including:
- Low self-esteem and self-worth
- Emotional stress
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Physical injuries
Victims of abuse are never to blame for their perpetrator’s actions. Abusers are always at fault for their violent, threatening or controlling behavior. If you are in an abusive relationship, you should contact a local, state or national domestic violence organization for assistance.