Home > What is Domestic Violence?

What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence can be a hidden secret in many households across the United States. VIP can assist you in many ways. If you find that you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please contact VIP to see how we can help you.

Domestic violence can happen in many forms. Most commonly we see abuse happening in 5 areas: physical, sexual, mental, emotional and economic abuse. It’s important to remember that abuse doesn’t just happen to females. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, education, religion, disability status, or sexual orientation.

What are the forms of Domestic Violence?

  • Physical: Pushing, shoving, slapping, strangulation, punching, kicking, using an object or weapon, using force to cause pain or injury
  • Emotional: Name calling, threatening to harm partner,  family, friends, pets or possessions, using insults (verbal abuse), isolation and harassment
  • Sexual: Sexual contact or acts without consent or forced through threats of physical harm
  • Economic: Control of your access to money, financial documents and information
  • Psychological: Psychological abuse involves fear, humiliation, intimidation and control, including controlling what you do, who you see or where you go. Many survivors, friends and families realize only after physical abuse begins that emotional, sexual, economic or psychological abuse were present during the early stages of the relationship.

Who does Domestic Violence affect?
Domestic violence can happen to anyone. Most people think of domestic violence as the physical act of a male spouse or partner physically harming a wife or girlfriend. However, domestic violence is a pattern of behavior within an intimate relationship that is used to maintain power and control over someone. So, it can happen in all types of including female abuse of a partner, lesbian, bisexual and transgender and teen dating relationships. It also happens against people with disabilities or who are deaf are and is often overlooked. The term Domestic Violence is often referred to as “Intimate Partner Violence.” All intimate partner violence is illegal and traumatic.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Violence
Domestic Partner violence occurs in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community with the same frequency and intensity as the heterosexual community. Unfortunately, LGBTQ partner violence remains underreported and largely unacknowledged in both the heterosexual and LGBTQ communities. A common threat an abusive partner will use to maintain control is the threat of “outing” their partner. LGBTQ survivors may resist seeking help due to concerns they will not receive the same fair and unbiased assistance & services from systems as their heterosexual counterparts.

Violence against People with Disabilities
While all of us want or need support, many individuals with disabilities rely on others for food, medication, finances, personal care, or equipment that is necessary for independence and survival. People with disabilities may experience subtle forms of abuse such as denial of these basic needs by a partner or personal care provider. This can have devastating emotional, medical or even lethal consequences. These factors can also limit a person with disabilities ability to report abuse or ask for help.

Teen Dating Violence
Teen relationships can be intense, emotional and sometimes, volatile. Many times parents are unaware or underestimate how intense the relationships have become and may not see signs that the relationship has moved beyond a healthy dating relationship. For more information, see our page on Teen Dating Violence.