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Domestic Abuse: Defined & Examined

In honor of this past Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we define precisely what domestic violence is, and how one can spot signs of domestic violence in your current or past relationships.


October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) across the country.   Actually, this past October was the twenty-fourth October to serve as DVAM.  The Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from 1981’s Day of Unity, which was started by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence as day in October to “connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.”   First expanding to week, and a later a month as know it today, DVAM is going stronger than ever in its 24th year.  As a tribute to Domestic Violence Awareness Month, take a look at your relationships and the relationships of those closest to you for any signs of domestic violence.

First, let’s examine precisely what domestic violence is.   From the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, their definition of domestic violence is as follows: “Domestic violence is best understood as a pattern of abusive behaviors -- including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion -- used by one intimate partner against another (adult or adolescent) to gain, maintain, or regain power and control in the relationship. Batterers use of a range of tactics to frighten, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, often injure, and sometimes kill a current or former intimate partner.”

Now that we have a broad and encompassing definition of domestic violence, the next step is to try and determine if you are a victim of domestic violence.   Since our definition looks at domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behaviors, determining if you are a victim is not as easy as recalling a specific event and matching it to a checklist.  A Seattle domestic violence lawyer recommends taking a look at several resources found online, including:
-“Am I being abused?” by the National Domestic Violence Hotline
- “Am I in an abusive relationship?” by the Safe Space
- The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth, MN’s “Power and Control Wheel”

Briefly examining some of the above resources, some questions found in “Am I in an abusive relationship?” ask does your partner do the following:
-looks or acts in ways that are frightening
- makes the other person ask for money or refuses to give the other person money that is supposed to be shared
- destroys the other person’s property or threatens to kill pets

One of the other resources recommended by a Seattle domestic violence lawyer is an online quiz consisting of 26 questions that asks you to ask yourself a series of ‘yes or no’ questions about the person you are in a relationship with.  Some sample ‘yes or no’ questions from the quiz entitled “Quiz: Is Your Relationship Healthy” also by the Safe Space include:
- Threatens to hurt me, my friends or family.
- Tries to keep me from seeing or talking to my family and friends.
- Likes to listen when I have something on my mind.

Taking a real look at your relationships with the assorted directives outlined in these resources, one should be able to suss out any warning signs of domestic violence.  Here in Washington State, there are numerous resources for victims of domestic violence.  A Seattle domestic violence attorney recommends that those who have been abused by an intimate partner call the Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-562-6025, or for those outside the Washington State areaFree Reprint Articles, the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

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A Seattle domestic violence attorney will be able to teach you how to gather evidence for use in case against your abuser.  Not only how, but also what evidence to gather.  Your Seattle domestic violence lawyer is your confidential adviser during this tough period in your life.



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