Domestic Violence Legal Claims

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 What is Domestic Violence?

According to the US Department of Justice, “domestic violence” is defined as a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner.

Domestic violence is mainly about power and control. While examining battered women through a feminist lens, some theories are rejected because they attribute the causes of violence to family dysfunction, inadequate communications skills, women’s provocation, stress, chemical dependency, lack of spiritual relationship to a deity, economic hardship, class practices, racial/ethnic tolerance, or other factors.

It is important to highlight that even though these issues may pertain to the battering of women, they do not cause it. Therefore, removing these factors does not end men’s violence against women.

Batterers behave abusively to control their partner’s behavior and to achieve and maintain power over their partners. This ensures they can get their needs and desires met quickly and completely without considering the victims. Also, there are many secondary benefits of violence to the batterer. A batterer may choose to be violent because he views it as entertaining to terrorize his partner.

After all, there is a release of tension in the act of assault. It may demonstrate manhood, or violence is amusing for him. Violence is a learned behavior, and batterers choose to employ violence. The focus should not be on the victim as a problem. The victim may accept responsibility for causing the batterer to lose their temper, but the abuser must be held accountable for his behavior.

How to Recognize Domestic Violence?

According to the Mayo Clinical Research, there are certain signs of being aware to recognize domestic violence, also referred to as intimate partner violence. Domestic violence can undertake many forms, including emotional, sexual, and physical abuse and threats of abuse. Domestic violence can also occur in heterosexual or same-sex relationships.

There usually is an imbalance of power and control to detect an abusive relationship. An abuser tries intimidating, hurtful words and behaviors to control their partner. It is challenging to identify domestic violence in the initial stages. While some relationships are abusive from the outset, abuse often begins subtly and worsens over time.

You may be experiencing domestic violence if you are in a relationship with someone who:

  • Insults you or puts you down;
  • Prevents or discourages you from going to work or school or seeing family members or friends;
  • Tries to control how you spend money, where you go, what medicines you take, or what you wear;
  • Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful;
  • Becomes angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs;
  • Tries to control whether you can see a health care provider;
  • Threatens you with violence or a weapon;
  • Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes, or otherwise hurts you, your children, or your pets;
  • Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will;
  • Blames you for their violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it;
  • Threatens to disclose to friends, family, colleagues, or community members your sexual orientation or gender identity;

What Are the Different Types of Domestic Violence?

When the general public thinks about domestic violence, they commonly associate it with a physical assault that results in visible injuries to the victim. However, this is only one type of abuse. There are several categories of abusive behavior, each with devastating consequences. Physical abuse may place the victim at higher risk, but the long-term deterioration of a person accompanying the other forms of abuse is significant and cannot be ignored.

It is important to closely examine other forms of abuse to identify domestic violence accurately. Here are some types of abuse with brief descriptions of what they may look like:

  • Control: Controlling behavior allows the batterer to maintain dominance over the victim. It can include but is not limited to Monitoring phone calls, using caller ID or other number monitoring devices, not allowing them to make or receive phone calls;
  • Physical Abuse: Any physically aggressive behavior, withholding of physical needs, indirect physically harmful behavior, or threat of physical abuse. This might include – Hitting, kicking, biting, slapping, shaking, pushing, pulling, punching, choking, beating;
  • Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse is employing sex exploitatively or forcing sex on another person. Using force, coercion, guilt, or manipulation or not considering the victim’s desire to have sex;
  • Emotional Abuse and Intimidation: Any action that exploits another’s vulnerability, insecurity, or character. Insulting or criticizing to undermine the victim’s self-confidence. This encompasses public humiliation, as well as actual or threatened rejection.
  • Isolation: By isolating the victim socially, the batterer prevents the victim from contacting anyone who might not reinforce the abuser’s perceptions and beliefs.
  • Verbal Abuse: Any abusive language used to denigrate, embarrass or threaten the victim, for example, yelling, screaming, rampaging, terrorizing, or refusing to talk;
  • Utilizing Male Privilege: As long as we as cultures accept the principle and privilege of male dominance, unfortunately, men will continue to be abusive. An entitlement to male authority with a right and obligation to control, coerce, and punish her independence;
  • Economic Abuse: Financial abuse is a way to control the victim by manipulating economic resources. Controlling the family income and not allowing the victim access to money or rigidly limiting their access to family funds. This may also include keeping financial secrets or hidden accounts.

The data outlined above is reviewed and compiled by the Arizona Coalition to end Sexual and domestic violence.

How to Break the Cycle?

If you are suffering in an abusive situation, you might recognize this pattern:

  • Your abuser threatens violence;
  • Your abuser strikes;
  • Your abuser apologizes, promises to change, and offers gifts;
  • The cycle repeats itself and;
  • Typically the violence becomes more frequent and severe over time.

The harsh reality is the longer you stay in an abusive relationship, the greater the physical and emotional toll. You may become depressed and anxious or doubt your ability to care for yourself. There are as many reasons that individuals remain in abusive relationships. Domestic and sexual violence survivors stay in their relationships for all the same reasons anyone stays in a relationship.

Various factors influence the relationship. A discussion of those factors is below:

  • Dependency: When survivors finally decide to leave their abusive relationships, they may be financially, emotionally, or socially dependent on the abuser still. Their social status and sense of self may depend on continuing the relationship;
  • Fear: The abuser may have threatened to hurt or kill the victim, the children, family members, friends, or others if they left the person who chooses to abuse;
  • Isolation: Often, the victim will have limited contact with the community around them because of the abuser’s isolating abuse. Embarrassment over bruises and threats from the abuser prevents the victim from connecting with friends and family.

When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?

If you face these horrifying and serious situations, it is critical to seek assistance early on. The emotional and physical load of barring these abuses can damage the person immensely. Therefore, contacting your local domestic violence attorney to guide you through these difficult times and break the cycle to regain your sanity is highly recommended.

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