Domestic Violence

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE

    • Are you currently in a relationship with someone who subjects you to physical, emotional, psychological, financial, or sexual abuse? 
    • Do you live in an environment where you are exposed to domestic violence and are afraid that something may happen to you? 
    • Have you ever been threatened? Are you being stalked? Has anyone who you are in a relationship with or have been in a relationship with ever tried to stop your breathing by strangling you, which you may know as “choking”?
    • Did you know that the laws related to domestic violence and intimate partner violence related criminal and civil law vary state to state and even within the state?
    • Did you know that domestic violence is not just between a man and a woman who are in a romantic or intimate relationship?
    • Would you like to talk with someone about how to recover from domestic violence, intimate partner violence, treatment programs for offenders, and even expert witness testimony or consultation for victims, offenders, and people who accused of domestic violence? 

 

Greater than 95% of my clients have reported to me that they have experienced domestic violence or intimate partner violence at some point in their lives, which includes victims and offenders. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence publishes a National Statistics Domestic Violence Fact Sheet, while these numbers are alarming, the numbers may actually be low. 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 

Domestic violence, in general, means physical, emotional, psychological, financial, or sexual abuse between one person and another, which has a goal of power and control over the victim. In general, the victim may not even notice that they are in a relationship with an abuser at the beginning and the abuser may not even intend to start it that way, however that’s not always the case, particularly in cases related to Intimate Partner Violence. The term “domestic”, however implies that the person must be living with the other person, such as in the case of a boyfriend or girlfriend, which some state laws when it comes to criminal charges, in order for it to be considered a domestic violence related charge, that is the case because there is no family relationship or cohabitation. However, civil law, as it pertains to an order of protection may be viewed differently.

Trauma-informed psychotherapy, which focuses on the trauma that you have experienced as a result of the abuse, combined with learning about safety planning, power and control, and domestic violence will help protect you. Other methods may need to be used based on your unique and specific needs. 

INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE

Intimate Partner Violence is similar to domestic violence, but the main distinguishing feature, is that the language has changed to draw attention to the fact that this type of violence typically occurs between two people who are in a “romantic” or “intimate” relationship. These individuals refer to the other as boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse even if they are not living together or have never lived together, even if they may have plans to do so someday. Criminal law, civil law, and even common knowledge or common sense don’t always agree on what would constitute an “intimate partner”. 

Trauma-informed psychotherapy is generally used in the same manner, but because victims of domestic violence and even offenders are not always given social justice because of differences in the laws, other methods may be used to help them recover or learn due to a double-trauma. 

ALTHOUGH YOU MAY SEE THE BENEFITS OF TREATMENT FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE FROM GIANNA ELMS, LCSW, YOU MAY STILL HAVE SOME QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT THE PROCESS…

I am afraid to leave my husband because I fear for my safety and the safety of my children. I know that he will kill me if I leave. How do you work to help someone like me?

Many women who are in abusive relationships run a high risk being killed when they leave their abuser or seek help from the legal system. The same is true for some women who seek help from a therapist. However, it’s an illusion to believe that he will not kill you because you choose to stay and not seek help. You will need to work with someone who is knowledgeable about domestic violence and when you make up your mind to leave, you must not waiver and believe that he will change or take him at his word that he just needs to talk to you about something. That’s a set-up. It’s one of the reasons why many of the women in the statistics have lost their lives. But only you can decide when and if it is safe enough for you to leave. If you decide to seek help from me though, I have one rule…no secrets. You must tell me everything so that I know how dangerous of a situation that you are in, and we can plan accordingly. 

I am a Christian, but I am not active in the Church. I am an abuser. I have abused my wife for many years, and I continue to do so. Even our now adult children witnessed it. My wife recently left me for another man, filed for an order of protection, and has filed for divorce. What can I do?  

You cannot control your wife, but you can decide to learn new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving as well as understanding how you got where you are today as part of participating in psychotherapy or spiritual counseling. Depending on your individual needs, forgiveness therapy and a batterer’s intervention program may be necessary. But you must stop identifying as an abuser and adopt a new Christian identity. Make a choice to change your life, stop believing that it’s ok for you to abuse women, and learn what it means to love.  

My wife is the problem. She’s the one who provokes me to do all that I do. She doesn’t understand that other people like her mother and my father are getting in the way of our relationship. She wants to work and she’s getting in the way of me doing what I want to do for work. Please tell her to stop! 

I certainly understand what it feels like when someone is getting in the way of me doing what I want to do. The trouble is though, it would be faulty thinking on my part if I were to think that I could or even should tell them not to do it and to allow myself to be provoked into anger. It would never turn out well. Blaming another person for provoking you into doing all that you do suggests that either you are the offender or that your spouse is abusing you and the relationship is so unsafe, that you need to do something that doesn’t involve violence, to make it safer for both of you. The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE.

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