Domestic violence can occur in many forms. Often, people only think of physical violence
as domestic violence. Other forms, such as emotional abuse, can harm victims
just as much, but the damage may not be as visible. Often, unless the
violence is physical, victims may feel they have no grounds to seek help
for the abuse.
Victims may feel helpless or doubt if what they are experiencing is actually
abuse. They may try to justify the behavior or downplay it as they hope
for improvement. Domestic violence often escalates, however, and what
may begin as name calling can escalate to physical and sexual violence.
Domestic violence can even turn deadly, so it is important for victims
to recognize and report domestic violence before it is too late. Learn
more about what is considered domestic violence.
Physical violence is often what people imagine when they think of domestic
violence. Injuries caused by abuse do not need to be severe to be considered
serious. In California,
physical assault against a spouse or romantic partner is punishable. Behaviors that constitute physical abuse can be:
- Hair pulling
- Assault with objects
- Forcing substance use
Another form of physical violence, sexual abuse is a common form of domestic
violence. It can include sexual assault and rape, as well as prostitution,
unwelcome touching, harassment, and similar unwanted advances. Sexual
abuse can be interpreted broadly, and any coercion regarding sexual matters
can be considered abuse. Denial of contraception or abortion is included
under the umbrella of sexual abuse. California takes sexual abuse cases
seriously, and you can use instances of sexual abuse to build a case against
your abusive partner.
Financial abuse can be difficult to identify, but is just as serious as
any other form of domestic violence. An abuser may try to financially
cripple their victim by preventing them from working outside the home,
having their own income or finances, hindering their education, or other
ways of controlling their victim’s financial independence. Often,
all resources are pooled into a joint account controlled by the abuser.
There may be no support in place for victims, and often the victim is
completely at the mercy of their abusive partner for money to pay for
food, clothing, and other bills.
Destroying the victim’s self-worth is the goal of
emotional abuse. Attacks on the victim’s intelligence, independence, self-esteem,
hobbies, and other aspects can be used to control the victim. This form
of abuse relies on persistent humiliation and criticism to cause the victim
to doubt their worth and submit to their abusive partner. Controlling
their victim can make an abuser feel powerful and safe, even if the abuse
is subtle. When a relationship is extremely coercive, a victim may be
able to seek legal action against their partner. If the relationship isn’t
physically violent or coercive, the only action victims may have is a breakup.
Any fear-causing, threatening, or intimidating behavior can be classified
as psychological abuse. The behavior needs to be persistent and significant
to merit a domestic violence charge for the abusive partner. Behaviors
that could be considered psychologically abusive include isolation, preventing
the victim from leaving the house, threatening violence or blackmail,
or other coercive behaviors. Psychological abuse may not be enough to
prove a domestic violence case unless the abuse is severe and pervasive.
Getting Help with Your Abusive Relationship
If you are in an abusive relationship, you may feel trapped, but help is
available. Often domestic violence goes unreported due to misunderstandings
about what is considered violence. Reporting domestic violence can help
you break out of an abusive relationship and protect you from your abusive
partner. Your abuser may be prosecuted for their crimes against you, or
you may be able to gain the protection of a restraining order and institutional
support as a victim.
If your relationship has become abusive, you may want to seek legal representation.
You deserve to feel safe, and if your partner is threatening or harming
you, you can bring a claim against them for domestic violence. At the
Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff, you can find the legal support you need. I am your Westlake Village
family law lawyer with over 30 years of experience handling domestic abuse cases,
divorces, and child custody battles. Whatever your legal needs are, I
can provide you with compassionate, one-on-one legal services.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff today by calling (805) 633-4999 and