What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviour in a relationship that leaves one person feeling like they have less control or power over their lives. Women living with abuse often feel afraid of their partner’s moods, threats or what would happen if they left or asked for help. Often abuse is lots of small behaviors that are hard to name but leave the victim feeling exhausted and like they are walking on eggshells in their home.
In some relationships the abuse is obvious from early in the relationship, however in others the abuse is subtle and control is taken over time in many small ways. Because of this many women have trouble believing that the abuse they are experiencing is real or doubt that their perception of incidents are accurate.
The law in NZ recognizes domestic violence can be physical, sexual, psychological/emotional, economic or spiritual.
Abuse often gets worse over time or has periods where it seems to have improved. Some of the things your partner may do if you are in an abusive relationship are:
- Prevent you from going to work or school;
- Call you names, insults you or puts you down;
- Stop you from seeing family members or friends;
- Leave you isolated by falling out with your friends or family, wanting to move away from your support or being suspicious of you and all your relationships;
- Try to control how you spend money, where you go, what medicines you take or what you wear;
- Act jealous or possessive or constantly accuse you of being unfaithful;
- Say they can’t remember being abusive after drinking or using drugs;
- Keep you up arguing or lecturing you for hours;
- Threaten you with violence or a weapon;
- Hit, kick, shove, slap, choke or otherwise hurt you, your children or your pets;
- Force you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will;
- Blame you for his or her violent behavior or tell you that you deserve it; or
- Portray the violence as mutual and consensual.