Domestic abuse or domestic violence is when one person has power and control over another.
What is Domestic Abuse?
Also known as intimate partner violence (IPV), the CDC says 1 in 4 women have experienced IPV, and 1 in 5 have experienced it in extreme forms. People of every age, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status experience domestic violence. Those who are in an abusive relationship are never alone, no matter who they are. There is always support, help, and healing within reach.
What Does Domestic Violence Look Like?
Although violence is in the name, domestic violence does not always involve physical harm. Other forms of IPV include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Emotional abuse
- Public or private shaming
- Isolation from friends and family
- Pressure to use drugs or alcohol
- Sexual violence or pressure to perform uncomfortable sexual acts
- Limiting of financial resources or financial freedom
Domestic abuse can involve all of these aspects, or just one or two of them, and can change over time. It can also tend to follow a pattern where apologies are often offered after incidents of abuse. However, promises to change rarely last, and the effects of IPV can be very harmful, both immediate and long-term.
What Are the Effects of Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse greatly impacts a person’s health and safety. Bruises, burns, cuts, and choking are common safety concerns. Physical harm typically escalates over time and can result in broken bones, internal injuries, and even death.
Some physical effects are longer lasting and more insidious. For example, head injuries can lead to neurodegenerative diseases. Domestic violence is responsible for at least 1.6 million brain injuries a year, a figure that greatly supersedes by thousands the number of brain injuries suffered by football players and military personnel combined. Even if physical harm seems minimal now, its cumulative effects may be greater than expected.
More on the Effects of Domestic Abuse
Additionally, the effects of IPV are more than just physical. Domestic violence has a lasting effect on sense of self, mental health, and emotional wellness. It impacts a person’s self-esteem, trust in others, and ability to manage anger and emotions. Depression and anxiety are common symptoms or may be preexisting conditions made worse by an abusive relationship. Individuals may struggle with co-occurring alcohol or substance use caused immediately by a partner’s actions or indirectly in an attempt to cope with IPV.
Domestic abuse also interrupts a person’s independence and success. It impacts their career and financial freedom. The National Domestic Violence Hotline found that the ability to work well, if at all, because of an unhealthy relationship affected 64% of all domestic violence victims. Abusive partners often gain power over finances and bank accounts and use this as one more tool to stay in control. They may even become jealous of a partner’s employment or try to keep her from working. The financial effects of domestic violence put partners at risk for poverty and homelessness and makes it that much harder, although never impossible, for a person to leave and take steps toward building a better, safer life.
Risk Factors Associated with Domestic Violence
Domestic violence can happen to anyone. However, some risk factors increase its likelihood. These include co-occurring disorders such as depression, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Alcohol and drug use also increase the risk of experiencing or perpetrating domestic abuse. Ending the cycle of IPV means addressing all aspects of a person’s health and safety.
Here at Willow House at The Meadows, we provide a safe, serene space to heal. Find physical, emotional, and psychological recovery through our patient-focused care. We offer professional, customized programs that address the immediate effects of domestic violence while also treating co-occurring mental health and substance use concerns. With support and treatment, you have the power to face this difficult situation and come out stronger.
Intensive Family Program
Innovative Experiential Therapy
12-Step Program Focus