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Definition of Abuse
An important piece in understanding the dynamics of domestic violence is the definition of abuse. Abuse is defined as the systematic pattern of behaviors in a relationship that are used to gain and/or maintain power and control over another. When one defines domestic violence in terms of physical abuse only they do not fully understand the dynamics that keep these relationships together.
Ask your audience what they think of when they are defining domestic abuse.
Using a Dry Erase Board or flip chart place their answers in the appropriate areas.
Physical: Hitting, pushing, biting, punching, choking...
Emotional: cursing swearing, attacks on self-esteem, blaming, criticizing your thoughts feelings….
Psychological: Threatening, throwing, smashing, breaking things, punching walls, hiding things, sabotaging your car.
Sexual: any non-consenting sexual act or behavior
It is important to note that many examples can be put into more than one category. I find it helpful to say emotional abuse plays on the persons feelings while psychological alters their reality and sexual often does both.