Contrary to the well-known myths about domestic violence, it can happen in all types of family and similar relationships. It occurs throughout all of society and can affect anyone, irrespective of age, education, lifestyle, race, religious orientation or social position.
The predominantly typical form of domestic violence is committed by men against a female partner. However, cases do occur of women perpetrating violence against men, or of people committing violence against same-sex partners, or of people committing violence against a household member of a different generation. Specific groups where domestic violence occurs include, among others, among representatives of the LGBT community, among persons living with disabilities, and among senior citizens. The services of nonprofit organizations aiding victims of domestic violence are also intended for such people.
What does a domestic violence victim experience?
Victims of domestic violence, whether men or women, have “two faces”, as do the people who commit violence against them. Victims show those around them an optimistic, positive face, but in reality they are living in fear and horror. They suffer from a feeling of shame, they have low self-esteem, and they continue to believe their situation will improve somehow. In some cases they blame themselves for failing to keep their relationship harmonious. They may be overwhelmed or socially isolated due to their economic dependency on their partner. They may even deny domestic violence is happening or refuse to acknowledge the gravity of the danger they face.
It is absolutely natural for a domestic violence victim to experience acutely powerful emotional and physical reactions to the abuse. Such reactions are the normal response of any organism to a tramatic experience, and when they occur in women we can say they are part of the so-called battered women syndrome. When the abuse has happened for a long time, it is almost impossible for the women concerned to extricate herself from such a state on her own.
Coping with such an experience can be very demanding and is influenced by many circumstances. If the victim never properly processes such experiences, it can happen that difficulties will arise for the victim after a matter of weeks, months, or even years. Such persons may never even make a connection between these delayed, postponed reactions and the trauma experienced.
Each domestic violence victim will have different symptoms to differing degrees.
- Physical symptoms - pain in various parts of the body, digestive or stomach problems, sleep disorders, anorexia, irregular heartbeat, sweating, flightiness, increased tendency to fall ill, etc.
- Changes in emotional experiences ‒ feelings of guilt, reliving a traumatic experience in nightmares, obsessive thoughts during the day, emotional emptiness, depressive moods, doubts, anxiety, a sense of quandary, frequent mood swings, lack of concentration, disquiet, touchiness, and many other changes.
- Difficulties with social function - lack of faith in others, inability to hold a job, no interest in any kind of activity, isolation, avoidance behavior, inability to establish intimate relationships, excessive use of addictive substances, giving up when it comes to improvements or plans for the future, etc.
Anyone can become a victim of domestic violence.
Think about your life. Find help.