Recognizing Domestic Violence in Relationships

March 28, 2022 by Alexandra Carter in Rights  Special Report  
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Domestic Violence Comes in Many Forms

Although you might think that signs of domestic violence would be blatant, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, small behaviors, patterns, and aggressions that you may shrug off are actually warning signs or direct signs of domestic violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence, which is often referred to as domestic abuse or intimate partner violence is defined as abuse or threats of abuse from someone you’re in an intimate relationship with, are married or were married to, you used to date, live or have lived with, or have a child with. 

Domestic violence is also when you are being abused, or abuse is threatened by someone to who you are closely related by blood or marriage.

Domestic abuse is not just hitting. It can also be:

  • Kicking
  • Shoving
  • Pushing
  • Pulling hair
  • Throwing things
  • Scaring
  • Following you
  • Keeping you from freely coming and going

Domestic abuse can also be verbal, emotional, financial, or psychological. It is often the precursor to domestic violence. Remember, you don’t have to be mentally or physically harmed to be abused.

Signs of Domestic Violence

The telltale signs of domestic violence are not always that obvious. Here are some signs to keep in mind and watch out for:

Your partner bullies, threatens, or controls you by:

  • Accusing you of being unfaithful
  • Blaming you for the abuse
  • Constantly criticizing you
  • Telling you what to wear and how you should look
  • Threatening to kill you or someone you love
  • Throwing things or punching walls when angry
  • Yelling at you and making you feel small

Your partner controls your finances by:

  • Hiding or withholding cash and credit cards from you
  • Putting you on an allowance and holding you accountable for every cent spent
  • Parenting you from working jobs of your choosing
  • Stealing money from you and your friends and family
  • Not letting you have money for basic needs such as clothing and food

Your partner cuts you off from your family and friends by:

  • Keeping close tabs on where you are at all times and who you’re with
  • Making you ask for permission to see friends and family
  • Embarrassing you in front of others

Your partner physically abuses you by:

  • Abandoning you in places you’re unfamiliar with
  • Attacking you with weapons
  • Preventing you from eating, sleeping, or seeking medical care
  • Locking you out of the house
  • Punching, pushing, kicking, biting, and/or pulling your hair

Your partner sexually abuses you by:

  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Making you dress sexually or in a way that you are otherwise uncomfortable with 
  • Making you feel as if you owe them sexual acts
  • Trying to give you an STD
  • Refusing to wear condoms or use other forms of birth control

Signs Someone You Know Is Being Abused

If you suspect someone you know is being abused, you should look for the following signs:

  • Excuses for injuries
  • Changes in their personality, such as low self-esteem when they were once confident
  • Continuously checking in with their partner
  • Never having money on them
  • Overly worried about pleasing their partner
  • Skipping work, school, and social outings with no apparent reason
  • Wearing clothes that don’t fit the season or environment, such as sunglasses indoors and long sleeves in the summer

I Think Someone is Being Abused, Now What?

If you suspect someone you know is being abused, it is imperative that you speak up. This person’s life could be in danger, and you could be their lifeline. When you speak to the person, you should:

  • Ask them if everything at home is okay
  • Talk to them about your specific concerns 
  • Listen carefully without judgment 
  • Let them know you are there for them and that your conversations will remain private
  • Offer to help them
  • Support their choices

I’m Being Abused, What Do I Do?

First off, you should know that you are never alone and that you don’t deserve to be harmed, threatened, or belittled. If you’re in an emergency situation, call 911. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233).

Develop an emergency escape plan by:

  • Hiding a set of car keys
  • Saving up cash in a hiding place
  • Packing a bag with keys, extra clothes, money, medicines, and important papers. Keep this bag in your car or at a friend’s house.
  • Know where you’ll go and how you’ll get there.

File a Restraining Order

In California, if you are the victim of domestic violence, you can file a domestic violence restraining order if:

Someone has abused or threatened to abuse you AND

You have a close relationship with said person by:

  • Marriage or domestic partnership
  • Divorce or separation
  • Dating
  • Co-habitation
  • Parenting children together
  • Close relation (parent, child, sibling, grandparent, in-law)

If your child is being abused, you can file a restraining order on their behalf to protect them. If your child is 12 or older, they can file the restraining order on their own.

What a Restraining Order Does

A restraining order is a court order that orders the restrained person to:

  • Not contact or go near you, your children, other people who live with you, and your relatives
  • Stay away from your home, work, and your kids’ schools
  • Stay away from your pets
  • Move out of your house
  • Not carry a gun
  • Follow child custody and visitation orders
  • Pay child support
  • Pay spousal or partner support
  • Complete a 52-week batterer intervention program

Related Articles

Domestic Violence Resources in Los Angeles
The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
How to Reduce a Domestic Violence Charge

We Can Help

If you’re being abused, it’s important to know that help is available. Filing a restraining order can be an overwhelming and even confusing process. But the staff at the Esfandi Law Group is here to help. We are a compassionate and caring experienced team, and we will be with you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more.

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How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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