What is Domestic Violence?
by, Ascellia Arenas
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, let’s talk about it. The problem is real. We can’t ignore it, make jokes about it, or continue to blame, shame and humiliate the victims. Victims of DV are all around us but they are shrouded in secrecy. It’s time to shed some light and make it STOP.
According to the US Department of Justice, the definition of Domestic Violence is as follows, “We define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.”
The perception that Domestic Violence (DV) only happens to a “certain” type of woman is the main reason why this problem persists. DV can happen and does happen regardless of situational circumstances, ” Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.”
Domestic Violence (DV) has a far reaching effect that impacts the lives of the victims, their children, and the community, as well. Children who are exposed to DV are more likely to have social development issues than those who are not. The Department of Justice informs, “Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life – therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers.”
My first experience with DV happened when I was a teenager. I knew what happened to me was wrong and I felt the need to protect myself and fight back. Imagine me 5’5 and 115 pounds thinking I could defend myself against a young man probably 3times my size. I tried it though, I wasn’t going to let anybody put hands on me! I would push back, fight back, earn my respect, or so I thought. I was not aware, as I am now, that I was being abused.
I continued in that cycle of abusive relationships well in to my adulthood. Defending myself, arguing, cursing, fighting back when boys in my life wanted to control me. Then, when DV reared its ugly head in my marriage, I continued to “fight for my respect” and those episodes of violence persisted until I decided to get help and consequently walk away from that unhealthy relationship. My children witnessed DV: it has impacted their lives tremendously.
The consequent divorce impacted all of our lives significantly for many years after. I lost everything I worked for. I spent years in court fighting for my rights, my safety (& my children’s safety), and for a better life.
I want women and men to learn what DV is, how it affects others, and what they can do to prevent it from reoccurring.
We can change only if we desire to be better.
Learn more from The Department of JusticeCelli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel, are both available at Amazon.