It's a problem that knows no social boundaries or class distinction. It affects thousands of women and families. And yet, domestic violence is one of the most misunderstood crimes in our country and often the least obvious. That's why education is so important. It is the best defense against domestic violence - from identifying the signs, to understanding the cycle of abuse and the behavior of both the abuser and the victim. Only through understanding can we help families affected by domestic violence to fight back.
Domestic violence is a pattern of violence or intimidation in an intimate relationship by one intimate partner against another, designed to establish power and control over the victim. It may be physical, sexual and include psychological abuse or assaults. YWCA Central Alabama works every day to remove domestic violence from our social customs and institutions. Some abusers believe they are entitled to use physical or sexual violence and see it as a way to create and maintain power and control.
Power and control are central to the issue of domestic violence. Tactics used to establish control include economic abuse, emotional abuse, or isolation and threats, particularly around the woman's fear of losing custody of her children. Other tactics are isolation, minimizing, denying and refusing to take responsibility for his actions, and blaming the victim by saying things like, "Look what you made me do."