Domestic violence remains a rampant problem in the U.S. Though most people in romantic relationships will not experience violence, enduring violence from a partner is a painful reality for one in four women and one in seven men. This violence does not just affect the victim; society as a whole suffers when individuals are not permitted to live free and safe lives. In fact, from 2003–2012, domestic violence accounted for “21% of all violent victimizations” in the country—a significant portion of crime for which police resources are needed.
Some people who have never experienced domestic violence may not understand the complexities of an abusive relationship. Some might wonder why victims get involved with their abusers in the first place. When it comes to these types of relationships, it is usually not apparent in the early stages of dating that a partner will turn violent. However, there are some warning signs that could help individuals leave potentially harmful relationships before they escalate.
Domestic Abuse Is About Mental Control
To understand domestic abuse, you must first realize that abusers all have one thing in common: they seek control over their victims. Domestic abuse is a repeated pattern of behaviors aimed at controlling another person. These behaviors may include physical, sexual, and psychological attacks.
Domestic abuse doesn’t turn into physical violence right away. Abuse begins subtly, in the form of insults or excuses to keep victims away from their loved ones. Over time, abusers may isolate their victims so that by the time the violence starts, they have no one to turn to for help.
If you’re afraid of your partner, that’s a big red flag that something isn’t right. If you’re scared of giving your opinion, discussing certain topics, or refusing sexual intimacy, you may be in an unhealthy relationship. The following signs may indicate that a relationship might become physically violent in the future.
Rushing into a Relationship
Domestic abusers may try to get attached to their partners quickly and rush through the initial stages of courtship. They may try to move in right away or propose marriage much sooner than expected. They may be emotionally dependent and try to spend a lot of time with their partners when they start dating. Sometimes, they may threaten to commit suicide to get their way.
Isolating Partners from Friends and Family
In their aim to control every aspect of their partner’s life, domestic abusers find ways of keeping their partner away from their friends and loved ones. They do this to break down their partner’s support systems. An abuser may discourage their partner from spending time with family or friends or may actively create conflict to prevent their partner’s loved ones from reaching them.
Abusers may also control their partner’s use of cell phones and transportation. They may track their partners’ internet use and vehicle mileage. They may even move frequently to prevent their partners from being physically close to anyone they know.
Emotional Abuse of Victims
Verbal and emotional abuse occurs in abusive relationships that may become violent. Verbal abuse often occurs early on in the relationship and is intended to dissolve a victim’s self-esteem. This type of abuse may include:
- Public humiliation, such as insulting the victim in front of others
- Commenting negatively on the victim’s appearance
- Name-calling the victim
- Mocking the victim
- Yelling at the victim
- Blaming the victim
- Swearing at the victim
- Making insulting gestures at the victim
- Accusing the victim of having an affair
Emotional abuse may also take the form of denying affection.
A key way abusers control their partners is by preventing them from having financial independence. A victim with no money has even fewer options to escape. They may discourage their partners from working or threaten them if they seek employment, or they may take measures to collect their paycheck. They may also give their victims an allowance and demand to know how they spend money. Abusers may also steal money from their partners to keep them dependent on them for even the bare necessities.
No Expectation of Privacy
Partners who have an expectation of privacy may not be easily controlled. A domestic abuse victim may be subjected to:
- Calls from their partner at all hours
- Unexpected or unwanted visits by their partners at their home or place of work
Perpetrators of domestic abuse may frame these gestures as romantic by saying things like “I had to hear your voice” or “I can’t be away from you.”
Substance Use or Abuse
People who abuse their romantic partners often use substances like drugs or alcohol and may even have a dependence or addiction. They may also blame their drug or alcohol problem for the abuse, claiming to have only perpetrated abuse because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Similarly, they might claim to have forgotten their actions because they were drunk or high.
History of Violence
Lastly, people who may initiate intimate partner violence often have a history of violence. They might have a criminal record for assault and battery or may have stories about getting into a lot of fights.
None of the above signs guarantee that a partner will become violent in a romantic relationship; however, together, they send a strong warning that physical violence is a strong possibility.
Serious Accusations Deserve Serious Criminal Defense
Domestic violence hurts families and communities, but accusations of domestic violence also create significant problems for those who are falsely accused. A domestic violence accusation may offset a string of complications. If you’re formally charged, you may face backlash at work, strained relationships with friends and family members who might revoke trust, and other repercussions. Criminal penalties are possible upon a conviction.
To avoid the worst consequences of a charge of domestic violence in San Diego, don’t hesitate to contact Attorney Dod of Dod Law. Dod has more than 17 years of experience defending individuals accused of violent crimes in San Diego and has more than 75 jury trials under his belt. Find out what your next steps should be with a free consultation. Call (619) 814-5110 or complete our contact form.