Domestic violence can be perpetrated by males or females. Abusive partners can be heterosexual or homosexual. The impact on the victim, relationship dynamics, and effect of domestic violence on children are strikingly similar regardless of the sex or gender roles of the offender or victim.
The vast majority of domestic violence reports involve male offenders and female victims. Popular theories regarding patriarchy (man is the head of the household/family) and male entitlement are widely accepted and proven out through research. Mental illness and abuse of alcohol, prescription medications, or illegal substances will often have a bearing on the severity or predictability of abuse and efforts to insure the victim’s safety.
The questions in the sidebar to the right may be difficult to answer honestly. Some men deny any awareness of the impact their size, angry voice, or facial expressions have on their loved ones. Many abusers say they do not believe their partner or children are actually afraid of them. For example, even while stating specific threats, some men defend themselves saying their intention was not to make the victim afraid but simply to “make her be quiet”, “make her listen”, “just to get some peace”, etc. Abusers use fear because it works. Abusers are very effective at manipulating their partners feelings and behavior.
Often, those who abuse others are highly thought of in the community. They do not publicly behave aggressively or with hostility and disdain. Nobody would ever guess!
If you are worried about the way you feel or behave toward your partner, there is help. If you are concerned about what your children are learning in your home, there is help. You can understand how childhood and adolescent experiences may have contributed to your beliefs and values or to patterns of behavior that hurt or frighten your loved ones. You can learn how your behavior impacts your family as well as alternative ways to think and behave.
Do you or have you ever done any of the following:
expressed jealousy of your partner’s time, friends, or activities?
tried to make your partner feel bad about time spent with family or friends, time spent at work, or time away from home that does not directly involve you?
accused your partner of unfaithfulness?
insult your partner or use ugly names?
undermine the children’s respect for their other parent?
tell children they do not have to do what their other parent says?
keep money matters secret from your partner?
require your partner to provide you with a report about all money?
broken or threatened to destroy your partner’s belongings?
said you were going to or could do something that would hurt or injure your partner?
threatened to or actually hurt a household pet?
threatened to or actually hurt your or your partner’s child?
If the answer is “YES” to even one of these, you have abused your partner!