Domestic violence typically occurs in intimate relationships, where one side of the relationship has an imbalance of control and power. Domestic violence comes in many forms such as sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. An abuser uses intimidating, hurtful words and behaviors to control their partner. Although domestic violence is known, recognizing it in relationships can often be a challenge. Where some relationships can subtly get worse over time, or some abusive relationships can be clearly abusive from the start. Some ways to recognize signs of domestic violence are:
- Constantly acts jealous and possessive.
- Blaming you of being unfaithful in a relationship.
- Putting you down or insulting you and calling you names.
- Threatening with violence or weapons.
- Blaming you or someone else for their violent behaviors or actions.
- Physically hurting you such as punching, hitting, or kicking.
- Preventing you from seeing family and friends.
- Controlling you when you go to see a healthcare provider.
- Controlling on how you spend your time, money, or what you wear.
- Threatening to tell your family, friends, or community your gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Forcing you to engage in sexual acts.
When women flee from domestic violence, they are often forced to leave their homes with nowhere else to go. For years, advocates have known that domestic violence is a primary cause of homelessness for women and families. Poor women, who are more vulnerable to homelessness, are also at greater risk of domestic violence. Poverty limits women’s choices and makes it harder for them to escape violent relationships. In Minnesota, for instance, 46% of homeless women reported that they had previously stayed in abusive relationships because they had nowhere to go. In San Diego, almost 50% of homeless women are domestic violence victims. Housing instability and a lack of safe and affordable housing options heightens the risks for women experiencing domestic violence. Abusers typically use violence as a part of larger strategies to exercise power and control over their partners, and isolate partners from support networks. As a result, women who have experienced domestic violence will often have little or no access to money and very few friends or family members to rely on if she flees a violent relationship.
By: Olivia Katsura