Intimate partner violence is included in the definition of "domestic violence," which refers to any physical, sexual, or psychological damage caused to a person by a current or former spouse or partner. Numerous negative effects on one's physical and mental wellbeing are linked to domestic violence.
Unfortunately, domestic violence is widespread and can impact anyone. In their lifetime, more than one in three women and one in four males have been victims of physical abuse, rape, or stalking by an intimate partner. 20% of violent offences are domestic violence-related.
Domestic violence can involve:
• Physical violence is when a partner is struck, kicked, or subjected to other physical force with the intention of inflicting harm.
• Sexual violence is when a companion is coerced into engaging in a sex act, sexual touching, or non-physical sexual activity (such as sexting) against their will or ability.
• The act of stalking is characterized by a partner's pattern of persistent, unwanted attention and contact that makes the victim fearful for their own safety or the safety of someone near to them.
Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and nonverbal cues with the purpose of controlling or inflicting mental or emotional damage on a partner.
Domestic violence affects people of all racial/ethnic backgrounds, genders, and socioeconomic levels, but it is most common in children and teenagers. A disproportionate number of women from different racial and ethnic backgrounds encounter these rates. Low income, poorer educational attainment, exposure to traumatic childhood events, unemployment, and sexual minorities are additional risk factors for domestic violence. Additionally, domestic violence is more likely to affect women who have serious mental health issues. Regardless, everyone may be at danger given the high prevalence of IPV.
Numerous negative effects on one's physical and mental wellbeing are linked to domestic violence. Domestic abuse victims are more likely to experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and suicide. Stress, isolation, and exposure to traumatic events can all contribute to depression and suicidal ideas and actions.
Domestic violence victims might internalize their partner's vocal abuse. They might experience resentment and anger towards themselves or blame themselves for their circumstances. Survivors of abuse might have trouble establishing fresh relationships.
Compared to people who have not encountered domestic violence, survivors are more likely to experience health issues and believe that their overall health is poor. 75% of female survivors of domestic abuse report having been hurt in some way. Common physical signs include chest, back, and pelvic discomfort in addition to injuries, headaches, insomnia, chronic pain, gastrointestinal issues, and headaches.
Two types of domestic partner violence that frequently go unrecognized are traumatic brain injury and nonfatal strangulation (also known as choking). Additionally, unintended pregnancies and pregnancy complications for both the mother and the infant can be caused by intimate partner violence.
Additionally, according to U.S. crime reports, a current or previous male intimate partner kills more than half of female homicide victims in the country.
Ways to start a conversation and provide support
Even though domestic violence has a negative impact on mental health, a number of things may keep victims from seeking mental health care or discussing their situation with a doctor. Fear of retaliation, mistrust of the police and the legal system, stigma and prejudice, and feelings of guilt, humiliation, or embarrassment can all be obstacles to speaking with a health professional or receiving care. Healthcare workers might not inquire about or seek for indications of possible abuse.
However, you should start the conversation if you are worried about yourself or you notice warning signs of an abusive relationship in a friend, neighbor, or coworker. There are services accessible for you, and even if you or they aren't ready to communicate, they will be aware of your presence.
You can provide support by:
- Recognizing that they are in a challenging and frightening circumstance. Let them know that they are not to blame for the abuse.
- Assuring them that assistance and support are accessible and that they are not alone.
- Paying attention to what they are saying. They might be searching for someone to listen rather than someone to solve the issue for them.
- Honoring the choices a survivor takes. Avoid passing judgement on or criticizing their decisions.
- Avoid sharing anything about them that could be used to identify them or their activities on social media.
- Providing resources, including the National Domestic Violence Hotline, Love is Respect (for teenagers and young people), Women's Law (which provides details on domestic violence laws and processes), and local services.
• Encouraging them to engage in social interactions with friends and family that are unrelated to their romantic connection.
• Assisting them in creating a safety strategy.
• Being by their side even if they ultimately decide to break up.
There are many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships, including fear of the consequences or actions of their partners, worry about their ability to be independent, a lack of resources, dependence due to a disability, worries about their immigration status, or a desire to keep the family together for young children.
Survivors "deserve to be supported in their decision-making and empowered to retake control over their own lives, regardless of the circumstances." - Helpline for Domestic Violence in America.