What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is any behavior where the purpose of which is to gain power and control over a spouse, partner, girlfriend or boyfriend, or intimate family member.
Abuse is a learned behavior.
Domestic violence occurs when a person uses physical violence, coercion, threats, isolation, sexual and physical abuse, etc..This includes any behavior that manipulates, humiliates, frightens, terrorizes, threatens, hurts, injures, or wounds someone. Domestic violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior in relationships.
Emotional abuse & intimidation
Verbal abuse: threats, blaming, name-calling
Using male privilege
Under Michigan law, a person has a domestic relationship if any of the following apply:
Spouse or former spouse
Dating relationship or former dating relationship
Child in common
Resident or former resident of the same household
This link contains state by state fact sheet on Domestic Violence:
Barriers to Leave
There are many reasons that people stay in abusive relationships. Domestic and/or sexual violence survivors stay in their relationships for all the same reasons anyone stays in a relationship. The relationship is complicated by multiple factors including fear, dependency, and isolation.
Fear: The abuser may have threatened to hurt or kill the victim, the children, family members, friends, or others if they leave the person who chooses to abuse. Victims often believe their abuser is capable of following through on these threats.
Dependency: Some survivors believe they will not be able to exist without their abusive partner.
Isolation: Often the victim will have limited contact with the outside world because of the abuser’s isolating abuse. Embarrassment over bruises and/or threats from the abuser keep the victim from connecting with friends and family.
What can you do to help someone who is being abused?
Educate yourself about domestic violence
Believe them and let them know that you do
Listen to what they tell you and avoid making judgments
Validate their feelings
Avoid victim-blaming. Tell them the abuse is not their fault.
Take their fears seriously. If you are concerned about their safety, express your concern without judgment by saying, "Your situation sounds dangerous and I'm concerned for your safety."
Support her decisions. Remember there are risks attached to every decision an abused person makes. If you truly want to help, be patient and respectful, even if you don't agree.
Who do you contact for help?
Often, the best source of help and information is your local program.
For more information on local support services, please visit the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence website at www.mcadsv.org and click on "Locate Help Near You."
You may also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233.) Call toll free, 24 hours a day, anywhere in the U.S.
Trained counselors provide confidential crisis intervention, support, information, and referrals to local programs to victims of domestic violence, their families, and friends.
The hotline links people to help in their area, including shelters, legal and social assistance programs. Help in English and Spanish with interpreters available in 139 more languages.
For additional information on this important issue, please visit the Department of Human Services’ domestic violence resources web page.