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Frequently Asked Question About Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence refers to a continuum of abusive behavior:

Verbal and Emotional Abuse: name calling, yelling, threats, intimidation

Physical Abuse: pushing, grabbing, hitting, beating, throwing objects

Sexual Abuse: sex on demand, rape, refusing to practice safer sex

Domestic violence is committed against a person by a partner, relative, or other person well known to the victim. The primary motivation for domestic violence is to establish and maintain power and control over a partner.

Keep in mind, as of July 2000, Arizona's domestic violence laws have been amended to encompass same-sex victims of domestic violence. LGBT victims are entitled to receive the same protection as opposite-sex victims of domestic violence.

How do you know if you need help?

You are frightened of your partner's temper

You give in because you are afraid of being punished verbally or physically by your partner

You make decisions about social and family contacts according to how your partner reacts

You censor your reactions, opinions, conversations to avoid causing conflict

You find yourself felling ashamed of, or responsible for, your partner's behavior

You have been kicked, hit, shoved or had things thrown at or around you

Top 10 Signs that Someone May be a Victim of Domestic Violence

The person must get "permission" from her/his partner before making decisions

The person makes excuses for bruises, scratches or red marks on her/his body that do not make sense given the nature of the wound

The person acts more withdrawn or on edge when her/his partner is around than when she/he is alone with you

You've said to yourself, "Why does he/she put up with his/her partner's crap?"

The person you're thinking of tends to apologize a lot and say "I'm sorry" for things that are not her/his fault

The person takes responsibility when her/his partner acts inappropriately

The person is constantly paged or called by her/his partner, and the person quickly returns the page or calls so she/he "won't get in trouble"

You've heard the person's partner call her/him names and humiliate her/him publicly

You've noticed that the person has stopped going out as much and always makes excuses why she/he stays at home more

The person you're thinking of always seems to be anticipating her/his partner's needs

Myths and Facts about Domestic Violence

MYTH: Abuse/battering that occurs in LGBT relationships is usually mutual.
FACT: "Mutual abuse" is actually rare. Domestic violence is characterized by a cycle of violence that includes control and domination by one partner over the other. The fact that victims sometimes fight back should not be mistaken for mutual abuse.

MYTH: GLBT domestic violence is actually sexual behavior, a version of S/M. The victims actually like the abuse and agree to it.
FACT: Domestic violence is not sexual behavior. In S/M relationships, there is a consensual contract or agreement about the limits and boundaries of the behavior, even when paid is involved. Domestic violence involves no such consent or contract. Domestic violence is abuse, manipulation and control that is not wanted by the victim.

MYTH: When there is abuse in the family, all members of the family are participating in the dynamic, and therefore all must change for the abuse to stop.
FACT: Only the perpetrator has the ability and responsibility to stop the abuse by seeking help. Battering is a behavioral choice. Many victims make numerous changes in their behavior in the hope that this will stop the abuse. This does not work.

MYTH: Victims exaggerate the level of abuse. If it was really that bad, they would leave.
FACT: Most victims actually minimize the abuse because of self-blame, guilt or shame. Victims considering leaving their abusers are faced with the very real possibility of continued threats and harassment, severe physical injury and even death. Domestic violence is the only crime in which the victim, in order to escape the dangers, has to leave home, friends, family, economic security, pets, belongings and sometimes the city behind for a safer, more peaceful life.

MYTH: People consistently place responsibility for violence and abuse on the perpetrator.
FACT: Most people blame the victim of domestic violence for the crime, some without realizing it. They expect the victim to stop the violence and repeatedly analyze their motivations for not leaving, rather than questioning why the abuser continues the abuse, and why the community tolerates and allows it.

MYTH: Drinking, stress and poor impulse control cause domestic violence.
FACT: Abusers use drinking/drug abuse, as one of the many excuses for violence, and as a way of putting responsibility for their behavior elsewhere. Stopping the drinking /drug use, will not end the abuse. Many people under stress do not batter or abuse. Perpetrators who are stressed at work do not assault their co-workers or bosses because of the consequences their actions might bring. Victims are usually abused in private, and when beaten, are often hit on parts of their bodies where bruises will not show.