Domestic Violence Against Women is a global issue reaching across national boundaries as well as socio-economic, cultural, racial and class distinctions. It is a problem without frontiers. Not only is the problem widely dispersed geographically, but its incidence is also extensive, making it a typical and accepted behavior. Only recently, within the past twenty-five years, has the issue been 'brought into the open as a field of concern and study' (Violence Against Women in the Family, page 38).
Domestic violence is not an isolated, individual event but rather a pattern of repeated behaviors that the abuser uses to gain power and control over the victim. Unlike stranger-to-stranger violence, in domestic violence situations the same perpetrator repeatedly assaults the same victim. These assaults are often in the form of physical injury, but may also be in the form of sexual assault. However the abuse is not only physical and sexual, but also psychological.
Psychological abuse means intense and repetitive humiliation, creating isolation, and controlling the actions of the victim through intimidation or manipulation. Domestic violence tends to become more frequent and severe over time. Oftentimes the abuser is physically violent sporadically, but uses other controlling tactics on a daily basis. All tactics have profound effects on the victim.
Perpetrators of domestic violence can be found in all age, racial, ethnic,
cultural, socio-economic, linguistic, educational, occupational and religious groups. Domestic violence is found in all types of intimate relationships whether the individuals are of the same or opposite sex, are married or dating, or are in a current or past intimate relationship. There are two essential elements in every domestic violence situation: the victim and abuser have been intimately involved at some point in time, and the abuser consciously chooses to use violence and other abusive tactics to gain control over...