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Domestic Violence
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  It takes 7 attempts before a victim successfully leaves her abuser.  

definition | reference materials

Domestic Violence
Interact defines domestic violence as abuse from a current or former intimate partner -- boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, husband, ex-husband, girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, wife, ex-wife. Domestic violence can mean physical abuse -- pushing, slapping, hitting or choking. But it also includes such things as:

Emotional abuse:  Name-calling, playing mind games, put-downs.
Threats:  Can be of physical or emotional harm, to take the children.
Intimidation:  Using looks, smashing things, loud voices or actions to put you in fear of what might happen.
Isolation:  Controlling where you go, what you do, who you see; driving away friends and family.
Sexual abuse:  Forcing you to do sexual acts against your will, physically attacking sexual parts of the body.
Economic abuse:  Controlling how the money is spent, taking your paycheck away, refusing to give you money for your needs.
Using the children:  Making you feel guilty about the children, using custody or visitation to harass you.
Using "male privilege":  Rigid views of roles and duties of men and women, expecting certain things "because I'm the man."

A common question is why doesn't someone "just leave" an abusive partner? It's not that simple. Women may be financially dependent on their partners, or lack job skills and family support because of the isolation caused by the abuse. Statistics show that a woman with children who leaves the home has a 50 percent chance that her standard of living will drop below the poverty level.

Some abused partners believe they must keep the family together for the children's sake, or because of religious or cultural beliefs. Partners may have been so emotionally abused that they feel incapable of surviving alone. It's important to know that an abused partner often faces the greatest physical danger when she or he tries to leave the relationship.

Victims of domestic abuse come from all walks of life, all races, all educational backgrounds and all income levels. Statistically, however, women are more often the victims of domestic violence. In a July 2000 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Justice Department, 25 percent of women -- one out of every four -- said that they had been abused by a partner, compared to 7 percent of men. Other statistics show that almost half of the women murdered in the U.S. are killed by current or former intimate partners. Abuse can take place in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.