What is Domestic Violence?
Have you or has anyone you know experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence perpetrated by an intimate partner? If so, you or they are experiencing domestic violence, a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.
Domestic violence affects individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or nationality. It can result in bodily injury, psychological trauma and, in severe cases, even death. The devastating physical, emotional and psychological consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.
Learning the signs of domestic violence may make it easier to recognize yourself or a loved one in an abusive situation. Too often, it goes unacknowledged or excused away, so the abuse escalates and becomes more intense or frequent. In 2014, Georgia police responded to over 65,000 reports of domestic violence.
Today, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, yet most cases are never reported to the police. Survivors may not report abuse for various emotional, logistical and financial reasons or out of fear of retaliation. Abusers often use guilt against their partner to rationalize this inexcusable behavior. In addition to physical pain, their abuse can also destroy the victim’s sense of self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make them feel trapped, helpless and isolated. If you are feeling like you may be in an abusive relationship, know that it is not your fault and you are not alone.
Domestic violence is a problem that affects not just individual survivors, but their families and the community as a whole. Understanding the vast scope of domestic violence helps lessen any stigma or bias, increases prevention and fosters community consciousness. We hope that through awareness and support we can end the cycle of abuse and give individuals their lives back.