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Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion, that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners.

Domestic violence is not an isolated, individual event, but rather a pattern of multiple tactics and repeated events. Unlike stranger-to-stranger violence, in domestic violence the assaults are repeated against the same victim by the same perpetrator. While physical assaults may occur infrequently, other parts of the pattern (such as sexual attacks, psychological attacks and/or economic coercion) may occur frequently or even daily. One battering episode builds on past episodes and sets the stage for future episodes. All tactics of the pattern interact with each other and have profound effects on the victims.

Domestic violence includes a wide range of coercive behaviors with a wide range of consequences, some physically injurious and some not; however, all are psychologically damaging. Some parts of the pattern are clearly chargeable as crimes in most states (e.g., physical assault, sexual assault, menacing, arson, kidnapping, harassment), while other battering episodes are not illegal (e.g., name-calling, interrogating children, denying access to the family automobile, control of financial resources). While the intervening professional sometimes must attempt to make sense of one specific incident that resulted in an injury, the victim is dealing with that one episode in the context of a pattern of both obvious and subtle episodes of coercion.

From “Understanding Domestic Violence: Preparatory Reading for Trainers” by Anne L. Ganley, Ph.D. in Domestic Violence-Child Protection Curriculum by Susan Schechter, M.S.W., 1995.

What is Abuse?

Domestic abuse is when your partner uses a pattern of coercive and assaultive behaviors to obtain power and control over you. The American Heritage Dictionary defines coercion as “to force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation or to compel; to dominate, restrain, or control forcibly; and to bring about by force or threat.”

While every relationship has its ups and downs, what makes a relationship abusive is the repeated and patterned behavior by a partner that attempts to control aspects of the other person’s life through manipulation, fear, bullying, and multiple other coercive tactics. In some abusive relationships, the abusive person physically or sexually assaults their partner, though this not always the case. In other cases, the abusive individual primarily uses emotional abuse (such as name calling, isolating from friends and family, making you feel bad about yourself), intimidation (such as threats, scary looks, throwing things, or invading personal space to scare you), economic abuse (such as controlling money, not providing proper economic support for children, not giving their partner access to funds), and/or restricting choices and options to obtain and maintain power and control. You might feel as if you aren’t allowed to make your own decisions or decide where you want to go and who you want to talk to.  You may feel as if you can only respond to your partner in certain ways, and sometimes you partner blames you for his misbehavior. Often when you resist the ways in which your partner tries to control you, the abuse gets worse, forcing you into an extremely difficult situation with no easy solutions.

Domestic abuse impacts individuals of all ethnicities, races, ages, educational levels, religions, and sexual orientations. Women are overwhelmingly the victims of abuse (with 85-90% of victims of domestic abuse being women abused by male partners), but men can also be victims of abuse by male or female partners and domestic abuse also occurs in same-sex relationships.

A partner’s decision to use abusive tactics in a relationship is often hard to identify and notice at first. Abusive individuals are known to be extremely manipulative and in many cases are kind, attentive, and charming when a relationship begins. Often abusive behaviors, such as possessiveness (disguised as lots of attention) and jealously (portrayed as a caring concern for their partner), appear to be flattering in the early stages of a new relationship. In many cases, abuse becomes worse once the victim has developed emotional, economic, or social ties to the abuser that make leaving the relationship more difficult.

Each individual’s experience with domestic violence is unique, so there is no “one way” an abusive relationship should look. But many of the tactics that abusive people use are similar, due to the fact that they are very effective tools to control and dominate others. The Power and Control Wheel, developed by survivors of domestic abuse in 1984, portrays the different tactics that perpetrators of domestic violence use in their relationship to obtain power and control. “Power and control” is at the center of the wheel because this is what your partner is trying to obtain. Sexual and physical violence are listed on the “tire” of the wheel because they are tactics used more intermittently to keep the dynamic in place.  Listed below are eight separate tactics that work very effectively to control a person. You might have experienced some or all of these tactics. Some examples of how the tactics are used are listed below, but know that there are many more ways in which abusers use these tactics:

Emotional Abuse: putdowns, name calling, making you think you are crazy, playing mind games

Isolation: Preventing you from seeing family and friends, controlling what you do or who you talk to

Intimidation: Scary looks, actions or gestures, destroying property, abusing pets, displaying weapons

Using coercion and threats: threatening to leave, hurt their partner, or hurt themselves, coercing you into doing things you don’t want to do, threatening to ruin you reputation

Using economic abuse: Controlling all of the money, ruining credit, giving an allowance, sabotaging your finances

Using male privilege: treating you like a servant, making all of the big decisions, being the “master of the castle”, having different rules for you than your partner has for himself

Using children: threatening to take the children away, being emotionally abusive in front of the children, teaching the children to not respect you

Minimizing, denying and blaming: not taking abuse seriously, blaming abusive behavior on the you, telling you everything is your fault

If your partner is successful in obtaining power and control over you using the above tactics, he might not decide to use physical or sexual violence in the relationship. Most of the tactics listed above do not currently meet the criminal threshold for what is considered to be domestic violence, but that does not make these tactics any less frightening, damaging or hurtful. In addition, your partner may sexually assault or coerce you (such as constant demand for sex, making your partner do something sexually they don’t want to do), and use physical force (such as pushing, slapping, hitting, kicking, biting, or beating you up) in your relationship. These particularly frightening attacks often show you that the your partner is willing to use physical or sexual force, which makes threats and intimidation in future cases often just as powerful and frightening as physical assault or sexual assault.

Abuse is NEVER your fault. It is important to remember that your partner has control over their decisions and when individuals behave abusively, it is a choice they have made to act in this way. Your partner might blame his behavior on your, or make excuses for his behavior (such as he was drinking, or stressed out at work, or you didn’t do something right), but it is important for you to know that you did not cause any abuse. Many abusers can be extremely manipulative after an abusive incident, which might include crying and begging for forgiveness, promising that it will never happen again, promising to change, or buying you gifts.

Many women in abusive relationships want the relationship to end and hope to move on with their lives without their partner, while others want the violence to stop but do not want to end the relationship. No one can tell you what is best for you, but rest assured that mixed feelings, doubts and conflicting emotions are all common responses to this very difficult situation. There are people and organizations available to you to listen and help you think through your options. Often a good place to start is to talk to a trusted family member or friend, which helps breaks some of the isolation and silence around abuse. Another good resource is to contact your local domestic violence program through their 24 hour hotline. Click Here for a list of domestic violence programs in Ohio.

Source: Ohio Domestic Violence Network

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Abuse and Rape Crisis Shelter

27 N. East Street
Lebanon , OH  45036
Phone: 513-695-1107
Phone Extension: N/A
Area(s) Served: Warren County Contracted Provider: Not Applicable
Description:   ARCS Family Violence Program provides: 24/7 Crisis hotline response and shelter safe access. 24/7 Sheltering services for victims of domestic violence and their dependents. Legal and Social Service advocacy. Individualized safety planning... read more
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Angel Place Shelter

64 N.Main St.
Middletown , Ohio  45042

Phone: 513-422-4433
Phone Extension: N/A
Area(s) Served: Butler County Contracted Provider: Not Applicable
Description:   The mission of Angel Place Shelter is to provide a protective shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence and rape.
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Citizens Against Domestic Violence

2000 N. Breiel Blvd.
Middletown , Ohio  45042
Phone: 513-423-0044
Phone Extension: N/A
Area(s) Served: Butler County Contracted Provider: Assisted Living Waiver
Description:   It is the mission of Citizens Against Domestic Violence to promote awareness of domestic violence and teen dating violence and the damage it does to individuals, families, businesses, and the community. CADV seeks to educate the public thro... read more
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Dove House (YWCA)

244 Dayton St
Hamilton , Oh  45011
Phone: 800-618-6523
Phone Extension: N/A
Area(s) Served: Butler County Contracted Provider: Assisted Living Waiver
Description:   Dove House is Butler County's protective shelter for victims of domestic violence.  Services include: 24-hour protective shelter  Court Advocacy  Child Advocacy Complete confidentiality  Support and educational g... read more
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Family Violence Center

380 Bellbrook Ave.
Xenia , Ohio  45385
Phone: 937-372-4552
Phone Extension: N/A
Area(s) Served: Greene County Contracted Provider: Not Applicable
Description:   The mission of the Family Violence Prevention Center is to reduce family and relationship violence and its impact in Greene County through prevention, intervention, safe-housing and collaborative community programs.      
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Rape Crisis and Abuse Center

215 E. 9th St.
Cincinnati , Ohio  45202
Phone: 513-381-5610
Phone Extension: N/A
Area(s) Served: Butler County,
Hamilton County
Contracted Provider: Not Applicable
Description:   Founded in 1973, Women Helping Women  provides crisis intervention and support services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking in Hamilton County and survivors of sexual assault in Butler County.  The agency also ta... read more
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The Ohio Coalition for Adult Protective Services

3528 North High Street
Columbus , Ohio  43214

Phone: 614-316-7796
Phone Extension:
Area(s) Served: Statewide Contracted Provider: Not Applicable
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United Way 211

Phone: 211
Phone Extension: N/A
Area(s) Served: Butler County,
Greene County,
Warren County,
Clermont County,
Montgomery County,
Clinton County,
Hamilton County
Contracted Provider: Assisted Living Waiver
Description:   2-1-1 can be accessed by phone or computer. A toll-free call to 2-1-1 connects you to a community resource specialist in your area who can put you in touch with local organizations that provide critical services that can improve—and save—... read more
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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Phone: N/A
Phone Extension: N/A
Area(s) Served: Nationwide Contracted Provider: Not Applicable
Description:   World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for commun... read more
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YWCA House of Peace

Phone: (800) 540-4764
Phone Extension: N/A
Area(s) Served: Clermont County Contracted Provider: Assisted Living Waiver
Description:   Eastern Area - YWCA House of Peace Shelter YWCA Eastern Area Domestic Violence Hotline: Toll Free (800) 540-4764 Local (513) 753-7281 24 Hour Hotline Assistance TTY Accessible  Only domestic violence shelter in Clermont Co... read more

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