Leda’s website is equipped with a Quick Exit button on the top right hand of the screen for your privacy and safety. Click it to exit this tab instantly. If you are struggling with domestic violence, you are not alone. For live support available 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or text START to 88788 to chat with someone.
Domestic violence is common - and it doesn’t always look the way it does in the movies. Without a proper understanding, it can be hard to identify abuse or seek support. Read on to explore how domestic violence may present itself and the resources available to survivors. Note that this content may be triggering. We encourage you to explore this blog post in a safe place and to use the Quick Exit button as needed.
First, what exactly is domestic violence?
Domestic violence or domestic abuse is unjust behavior that occurs in a pattern between members of a family or romantic/intimate partners as intimate partner violence (IPV).
An unfortunate reality, domestic violence can happen in any domestic situation, regardless of the intersectional identities of those involved. In order to break cycles of domestic violence, it’s helpful to recognize some of the patterns associated with it.
Can anyone experience domestic violence?
Yes, anyone can experience domestic violence, regardless of identity. Make no assumptions!
Not shockingly, domestic violence is most likely to occur within romantic relationships. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 95% of domestic violence cases are against spouses or partners.
How do you spot domestic violence?
There’s no single archetype of domestic violence; it presents itself in many ways. Domestic violence is not always physical (another common misconception), but instead may involve emotional control or coercion. Read on to explore a few common kinds of domestic violence.
- Emotionally, like causing harm privately or publicly through insults and undermining a partner's self-worth
- Physically, like beating, punching, kicking, biting, shoving, or injuring
- Sexually, including but not limited to non-consenual sexual conact, restraining during sex, and drug-facilitated sexual assault.
- Through control or coercion, such as through control over funds and isolation from friends and family.
- Other means, like stalking, reproductive abuse, and litigation abuse.
How should I feel after experiencing domestic violence?
All reactions to domestic violence are normal. There’s no right or wrong way to feel, and it’s important to try to accept all of your feelings. You may experience:
Heightened emotions are just as normal as muted emotions, and delayed emotional reactions are also normal.
You may also experience gaslighting, another form of abuse, which can cause confusion, disorientation, or disconnect from reality. Gaslighting is a form of manipulation, and it can further confuse domestic violence as it may lead you to question your own reality. Remember that all of these responses are normal.
How do I support myself or someone I love in a domestically abusive relationship?
Domestic violence is extremely common, and you’re not alone in navigating next steps. If you or someone you love is struggling, don’t hesitate to seek support. Remember that every survivor deserves autonomy and control (two things you’re denied during abuse). Never take someone’s healing journey into your own hands by overstepping. Instead, listen to their needs, and remind them that you’re here to help them on their timeline.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 to help you support yourself or someone you love. Call 800-799-7233 or text START to 88788 for live support anytime. You can also text Leda to 741741 to speak with a trained Crisis Counselor for support around the clock. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 in partnership with Crisis Text Line. For a list of additional helpful resources, we highly recommend the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)’s Resource page. We’ve been there ourselves, and we’re here for you.