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What is
Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence.

Domestic violence happens when one person believes they are entitled to maintain coercive control over their partner.


Domestic violence may include emotional abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using children, threats, using gender privilege, intimidation, isolation, and a variety of other behaviors used to maintain fear, intimidation, and power.

DV vs. IPV

Domestic Violence (DV) and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) are two-halves of the same circle of violence. Although both potentially lethal, there are some key differences between the terminology.


Any two people within a household such as parent-child, siblings or roommates.



Can only occur between romantic partners who may or may not be living together in the same household.

IPV can occur regardless of whether the individuals involved are/were living together or not. This distinction is what separates it from the term Domestic Violence, which generally refers to violence occurring between residences within one single location. The term Intimate Partner Domestic Violence (IPDV) more specifically refers to the abusive behavior of residences of one single location who are in an intimate relationship with each other, in turn excluding family members or other residents living within the household who would fall under the broader term of Domestic Violence. To summarize, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) can be Domestic Violence (DV), but DV cannot be considered IPV. 



Acts of domestic violence generally fall into one or more of the following categories:

Physical battering: physical attacks or aggressive behavior (range from bruising to murder).

Sexual abuse: forced sexual intercourse, unwanted sexual activity.


Psychological battering: constant verbal abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, isolating the victim from friends and family, deprivation of physical and economic resources, and destruction of personal property.

Domestic violence may include emotional abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using children, threats, using male privilege, intimidation, isolation and a variety of other behaviors used to maintain fear, intimidation and power. 


Domestic violence escalates

It often begins with threats, name-calling, violence in the victim’s presence (such as punching a fist through a wall), damage to objects or pets. It may escalate to restraining, pushing, slapping, pinching, punching, kicking, biting, or sexual assault. Finally, it may become life- threatening and include choking, breaking bones, or the use of weapons.


Regardless of what a partner does, an abuser's response is totally his decision.

The Cycle of Violence: Tension, Crisis or Violent Episode,
& Seductive Calm

TENSION: stress builds, communication breaks down, victims’ senses growing danger and tries to avoid abuse, “minor” violence/abuse occurs, incidents occur more often, intensity increase, batterer denies, minimizes, or blames external factors, victim hopes things will change “somehow”.

CRISIS OR VIOLENT EPISODE: anxiety is extremely high, major controlled violence occurs, batterer is explosive, acute, and unpredictable, serious injuries or death may occur, abuser blames victim, victim adapts in order to survive, victim may escape only to return when crisis is over, abuser may isolate victim physically and emotionally.

SEDUCTIVE CALM: the whole family is in shock at first, abuser may be remorseful, seeking forgiveness, abuse temporarily stops, all are relieved that the crisis has passed, victim is worn down and accepts
promises if offered, children become caretakers to survive or keep the peace, victim wants to believe violence won’t reoccur, abuser’s positive qualities are most evident.

Abstract Linear Background

"Across the U.S., 75% of domestic violence-related deaths occur after a victim takes steps to separate from their abuser."

- DV Awareness Guide, OKDHS AFS


Why do they stay?

On average, more than 3 women and 1 man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day. Intimate partner homicides accounted for 30 percent of the murders of women and 5 percent of the murders of men.

Many people immediately ask, “Why do so many battered victims stay?” The reality is that many try to leave, but leaving does not guarantee safety.

The abuser often becomes more violent after the victim decides to leave. Thousands attempt to leave their abusers every day only to discover they lack the funds and resources to provide necessities for their children and themselves. Primary factors break down into 3 categories: 1) A lack of resources, 2) Institutional responses, and 3) Traditional ideology. 

The reasons for returning to an abusive partner are complex. Strong cultural pressures may discourage legal separation. Religious convictions may play a significant role in encouraging the victim to forgive their partner’s actions and return home. Many victims, frightened and convinced by their partners’ manipulation and coercive tactics, believe they have no options other than to remain with their partners.

For more information:

Contact our office for more information and resources.


Crisis Hotline: 800-821-9953

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