Domestic Violence Awareness at The University of Michigan
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Domestic violence
Domestic violence occurs when a person uses physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, stalking, or emotional, sexual or economic abuse to gain or maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
Domestic violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior in relationships, which Michigan law defines as: currently or formerly married, currently or formerly dating, currently or formerly living together, or having a child in common. Domestic violence may be known by other terms, including intimate partner violence or relationship abuse. Many behaviors associated with domestic violence are crimes.
"Survivor" is a term for the individual who is being targeted for abuse. Sometimes they may be referred to as "victims."
"Abuser" refers to the individual who is inflicting the abuse. Other terms include "batterer" or "perpetrator."
Coercive behavior
Examples of coercive behavior are when one partner requires the other to have sex, or go out in the car, or stay at home, and forces her or him to comply through pressure, threats or physical restraint.
In domestic violence, control is maintained through the use of threats and intimidation. Batterers have the need to have control over their lives. That usually means eliminating the opportunity for their partners to choose anything for themselves.
Many times partners or ex-partners use threats to maintain control. If they have ever used physical or sexual violence the threat can be very intimidating. Some abusers threaten to destroy property of his partner, especially that which means a lot to her. They may threaten to hurt or kill the partner, pets, other family members, the children or themselves.
Physical violence
Includes pushing, shoving, pulling, shaking, slapping, biting, hitting, punching, kicking, strangling, throwing objects at partner, restraining, throwing the partner, use of weapons at hand like a frying pan or broom, or use of conventional weapons such as a gun or knife. Some of these examples may be used by the survivor in self-defense (like use of items at hand) and do not constitute domestic violence or abuse.
Sexual violence
Examples of sexual violence include: discounting the partner's feelings regarding sex; criticizing the partner sexually; touching the partner sexually in inappropriate and uncomfortable ways; demanding sex; forcing partner to strip as a form of humiliation (maybe in front of children), to witness sexual acts, to participate in uncomfortable sex or sex after an episode of violence, to have sex with other people; and using objects and/or weapons to hurt during sex or threats to back up demands for sex.
Economic abuse
Examples of economic abuse include: requiring partner to account for every penny of household or other funds; withholding money from partner; putting partner on an impossible "budget;" denying partner access to any checking account or credit cards; taking partner's paycheck and controlling access to it; denying necessities of life to partner and children; having own checking and savings account unknown to partner.
Verbal or psychological abuse
Examples of psychological abuse include: insulting the partner; ignoring the partner's feelings; withholding approval as a form of punishment; yelling at the partner; labeling the partner with terms like "crazy," "stupid;" blaming the partner for all his troubles; putting down the partner's abilities as lover, parent, worker; demanding constant attention and showing resentment to children; telling the partner about his affairs or that she must stay with him because she can't make it on her own. All of the examples under "threats" are also included.