Domestic abuse is a serious problem affecting more than 10 million people per year. Contrary to popular belief, domestic abuse is a problem impacting both men and women. At any time in the US, 25% of all women are in a violent domestic relationship, and 11% of all men report being abused by their intimate partner. Domestic violence transcends community, race, socioeconomics, and religion. Sadly, women are disproportionately affected by domestic abuse, and it’s a nationwide problem without any abatement in sight.
What are Domestic Violence and Abuse?
Domestic violence is the willful intimidation and abuse of one’s intimate partner. Abuse and intimidation can happen in various ways, and according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, physical and sexual assault and battery are used to gain power and control over another person in a domestic partnership. Abusive interactions like threatening language and stalking are also considered domestic violence. While women of all ages can be victims of domestic abuse, women ages 18 to 24 are most often the targets of this abuse.
Most Common Forms of Domestic Violence & Abuse
Many victims of domestic abuse fail to seek help because they don’t think they will be heard or supported. Because there are varying degrees of abuse, many people think if they’re not being abused physically, it’s not domestic abuse.
Listed below are the four most prevalent types of domestic violence in the United States:
- Physical Abuse: Actions such as pushing, restrictive holding, punching, kicking, scratching, or slapping, and other unwanted physical interactions are considered physical abuse.
- Emotional Abuse: Verbal abuse is communication used to belittle and humiliate the intended target. The goal of emotional abuse is to make the target of the abusive language feel worthless and small. Emotional and verbal abuse are often intertwined because verbal abuse, over time, takes an emotional toll.
- Economic Abuse: When one partner controls the other by withholding financial support and financial independence, the interaction is abusive in nature. It’s a means of controlling and intimidating a domestic partner. Most often, the abusive partner not only withholds financial means but the ability to make money or become financially independent.
- Psychological Abuse: Anything used to intimidate and cause fear in one’s partner is psychological abuse. Gaslighting can manifest as a form of psychological abuse, and many victims struggle to explain their abuse and proof it exists.
Most of these are not criminal forms of abuse, but if you feel threatened or in danger when around your intimate partner, you may be able to seek protection. Reach out to a family law attorney for help requesting a restraining or protective order. Most importantly, you need to familiarize yourself with the signs of abuse so you can recognize them in your life or those of people you care about.
The Importance of Thoughtful and Compassionate Legal Representation
While you can file for a restraining order without an attorney, legal counsel can help you navigate the system and ensure you have the most protection available in your situation. Additionally, legal rules, regulations, and guidelines are complicated for those outside the legal community, so you could end up spending a considerable amount of money without the confidence of knowing if you have taken the proper steps to protect yourself. At Cecil Cianci Law, PC, our attorneys handle restraining order cases, and we can work with you to find out if your situation qualifies for legal protection. Call us today at (916) 675-3866 to schedule a consultation.