Domestic violence is the attempt by one person to obtain power and control over his or her intimate partner through psychological, physical, or sexual abuse. Victims of domestic violence are familiar with what is called the “cycle of violence,” which consists of three stages that victims of domestic violence continually cycle through at the hands of their batterers.
II. History of Domestic Violence
III. Types of Abuse
IV. Prevalence of Domestic Violence
VI. Domestic Violence and the GLBT Community
VII. Domestic Violence: Myth Versus Fact
Domestic violence occurs when a current or former intimate partner exerts dominance and control in a relationship through physical, sexual, or psychological-emotional abuse, resulting in physical or emotional trauma to the victim. Other forms of domestic violence include stalking and dating violence. Other terms used for domestic violence include intimate partner violence, domestic abuse, family violence, spousal abuse, dating violence, wife abuse, and battering.
Domestic violence exists within all cultures, ethnicities, faiths, age groups, education levels, income levels, and sexual orientations. Domestic violence can occur between many different kinds of couples: married or unmarried couples, couples who live in rural areas and urban areas, those that cohabitate or live separately, couples that had been formerly married or had dated, and between heterosexual or same-sex couples. Furthermore, sexual intimacy is not required to be present in a relationship in order for domestic violence to occur.
While the statutory term for domestic violence in most states usually includes other family members besides intimate partners, such as children, parents, siblings, sometimes roommates, and so forth, practitioners typically apply the term domestic violence to a coercive, systemic pattern of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse between intimate partners. Victims of domestic violence can be women or men; however, the overwhelming majority of domestic violence involves women as victims and men as perpetrators. For this reason, many organizations concerned with domestic violence focus their attention and services specifically on violence against women and their children.
The following section of this research paper discusses the types and prevalence of domestic violence. It also discusses domestic violence warning signs, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The research paper concludes with a discussion of the judicial response to domestic violence such as domestic violence and family courts.
II. History of Domestic Violence
The domestic violence movement, also referred to as the battered women’s movement, has a long history, although it picked up steam with the advent of the feminist movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1971, Erin Pizzey opened the first battered women’s shelter in Chiswick, England. The first shelters in the United States opened their doors in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota; Pasadena, California; and Phoenix, Arizona, in 1972. Soon thereafter, a shelter opened in Boston, Massachusetts, and Casa Myrna Vasquez, also in Boston, opened its doors as the first shelter providing services primarily for Latinas. The first support group for battered lesbians began in Seattle in 1985. Awareness and services have increased exponentially over the past three decades, and as of September 2007, a total of 1,949 domestic violence programs were operational across the United States (National Center for Victims of Crime, 2008).