What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of intimidating, controlling behavior in an intimate or familial relationship that compels the victim to submit to the abuser’s wishes. The use or threat of physical, emotional or sexual violence allows the abuser to assert and maintain power and control over their victim. Believing they have the right to control the victim by any means necessary, abusers often are unable to see any real harm in their abusive behavior.
Domestic abuse and violence are the most common causes of injury to women in our society-exceeding the number of injuries from auto accidents, muggings and rapes combined. In Maine, where domestic violence is the leading cause of homicide, more than 20% of all reported domestic assaults happen in York County.
Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse affects people of all ages, races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, income levels and educational backgrounds. There is no group of people that is not affected by domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse and violence isolate the victim and deplete her inner strength, self-worth and ability to make her own decisions safely. As a result of the messages the victims receives both from her abuser, and the community, she often begins to believe the abuse is her fault.
Domestic violence traumatizes children, making it difficult for them to feel safe in the world. Children almost always believe the abuse is their fault.