Dynamics of Domestic Violence

When Violence Hits Home

Family violence includes domestic violence, child abuse, and abuse directed towards other family members living in the home.

In this handbook, the focus will be on family violence, defined as violent or controlling behavior by a person against an intimate partner. Although the partner is the primary target, violence is often directed toward children, family members, friends, and even bystanders.

The majority of the victims of family violence are women. However, violence also happens by women against men and in both gay and lesbian relationships.

The mission of the Wayne County Council Against Family Violence is to educate our community about violence in the home, and to provide a coordinated, community approach towards intervention and prevention. We believe that everyone must be involved and that everyone can help stop domestic violence. Individually and together we can make a difference in the lives of thousands of adults and children.

Dynamics of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is caused by one partner's need for ultimate power and control in the relationship. People who are abusive and controlling are responsible for their own behavior. However, violence between partners may be "enhanced" by numerous factors, such as:

  • Childhood experiences of abuse and/or parental violence
  • Financial problems
  • Frustration Alcohol and/or other drug abuse
  • Intense jealousy
  • Job loss
  • Mental disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Role changes such as partner starting school or getting a new job
  • Stressful situations

For Better or Worse

One of the most frequently asked questions about domestic violence is, "Why do people stay in these relationships"? There are many reasons why women and men stay in violent relationships it can even be a combination of:

  • Cultural
  • Embarrassment
  • Fear
  • Financial dependence
  • Love
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loyalty
  • Personal beliefs
  • Pride
  • Religious
  • Shame

Victims that experience family violence during their childhood now accept it as a normal part of life and do not even realize that physical assault of a partner is a crime. Remain simply because they believe their partner's promises to change. Many stay in violent relationships because they fear the consequences of leaving their partner. Three-fourths of all battered women are more severely beaten after they leave, are separated, or divorced from their partner. Women are also at the greatest risk of becoming a victim of homicide when trying to leave the relationship.