About Domestic Abuse

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse—or domestic violence—is a pattern of behavior used to cause fear and gain control over another person. It may involve verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, financial and spiritual forms of abuse.

Abuse comes in many forms.

Verbal and emotional abuse include name calling, ridicule, derogatory comments, blaming, false accusations, lying, jealousy, causing public embarrassment, anger/rage, tantrums, threats, intimidation, yelling, crazy-making behaviors, harassment, criticizing personal appearance, criticizing family and friends, interfering with work, school and appointments, bossy controlling behaviors, silent treatment and similar behaviors. Verbal and emotional abuse cause intense pain that can be much harder to heal than bruises or broken bones.

Physical abuse includes slapping, kicking, choking, pinching, biting, pulling hair, burning, tying up, using a weapon, physical restraint, throwing objects, destroying property, reckless driving to cause fear, all forms of sexual abuse, including groping, assault and rape.

Financial abuse includes taking sole control of the money to the degree that the other person has to ask for necessities, denying the freedom to work, forcing to work then taking all the money, making secret financial decisions that jeopardize family stability, blaming financial problems on others, buying unnecessary things while the basic needs of others are not met.

Spiritual abuse includes using scripture and words like "submission" and "obey" to maintain power and control, asserting spiritual superiority and domination in a relationship, or denying the right to attend church or religious activities or to read the Bible.

Why do men abuse?

Fear of rejection and abandonment.
Power, control and abuse are used to keep her from leaving him. His fear is intense, and usually unspoken. The abuse actually causes her to want to leave.

Entitlement - belief in the right to dominate.
Some men like the position of authority and domination and believe it is their God-given right as a man. False teaching and misinterpretation of scripture can contribute to abuse.

Learned behavior in relationships.
Male role models were aggressive and abusive. Some abusers don't know how to do relationships any other way. Abuse is learned behavior that the abuser chooses to follow.

There is hope. God can redeem, heal, teach and give freedom to every man who recognizes the patterns of abusive behavior and asks God for help to break the cycle of abuse.


Domestic Violence Quick Facts

  • Between 2000-2017, at least 371 women and 175 family members/friends (of which most were children), were murdered as a result of domestic violence; see Minnesota Coalition of Battered Women (MCBW) 2017 Femicide Report
  • 1 in 3 women will be a victim of domestic abuse in her lifetime.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States—more than rapes, muggings and traffic accidents combined.
  • The most dangerous time for an abused woman can be when she leaves or attempts to leave her abuser.
  • 70% of abusers also abuse the children in the household.
  • 50% of all homeless women and children living in America are fleeing domestic abuse.

About Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is the immediate cause of homelessness for many women. Survivors of domestic abuse are often isolated from support networks and financial resources by their abusers, which puts them at risk of becoming homeless. As a result, they may lack steady income, employment history, credit history, and landlord references. They also often suffer from anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, and substance abuse. According to multiple studies examining the causes of homelessness, among mothers with children experiencing homelessness, more than 80% had previously experienced domestic violence.

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