What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. The abuse may be physical, sexual, emotional, or include threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender.
It can happen to couples that are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. While domestic violence can affect men, the large majority (85%) of its victims are women. Therefore, this article will focus on the most common type, where the male is the abuser in an intimate relationship.
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Why Do People Abuse?
Why Do People Abuse?
According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233
Domestic violence and abuse stem from a desire to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abusive people believe they have the right to control and restrict their partners, and they may enjoy the feeling that exerting power gives them. They often believe that their own feelings and needs should be the priority in their relationships, so they use abusive tactics to dismantle equality and make their partners feel less valuable and deserving of respect in the relationship.
No matter why it happens, abuse is not okay and it’s never justified.
Abuse is a learned behavior. Sometimes people see it in their own families. Other times they learn it from friends or popular culture. However, abuse is a choice, and it’s not one that anyone has to make. Many people who experience or witness abuse growing up decide not to use those negative and hurtful ways of behaving in their own relationships. While outside forces such as drug or alcohol addiction can sometimes escalate abuse, it’s most important to recognize that these issues do not cause abuse.
Who Is Abusive?
Anyone can be abusive and anyone can be the victim of abuse. It happens regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race or economic background. If you are being abused by your partner, you may feel confused, afraid, angry and/or trapped. All of these emotions are normal responses to abuse. You might also blame yourself for what is happening. But, no matter what others might say, you are never responsible for your partner’s abusive actions. Being abusive is a choice. It’s a strategic behavior the abusive person uses to create their desired power dynamic. Regardless of the circumstances of the relationship or the pasts of either partner, no one ever deserves to be abused.
A LEGACY SURVIVOR STORY
August 27, 2018 / 3 Comments / in Share Your Story, Survivor Series, The Hotline
Many of us will remember Aretha Franklin as the legendary “Queen of Soul” and the woman whose music reminded all of us that we deserve respect from our partners. Her list of achievements spans genres and generations over six decades, including winning 18 Grammys and becoming the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Beyoncé, Madonna, and countless other artists have cited Franklin’s music as an inspiration to their own.
Ms. Franklin passed away on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at the age of 76 in Detroit, Michigan. She was not only a music icon, but she made a powerful impact on generations of African Americans and women. While most people are aware of Franklin’s many successes, fewer are familiar with a different aspect of Franklin’s legacy—one as a survivor of domestic violence.
Though Aretha Franklin was private about the details of her first marriage to Ted White, who was also her manager, there were reports of physical fights that left Franklin with visible bruises. White reportedly “roughed her up” more than once, including a public incident in 1967 that resulted in Franklin being banned from the hotel where it occurred, jeopardizing her ability to perform at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s 10th anniversary convention. But Franklin was “committed to the cause of freedom…[and] knew that her presence would make a difference,” so she snuck into the hotel to sing for two hours anyway. Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who was friends with Franklin, told TIME in 1968, “I don’t think she’s happy. Somebody else is making her sing the blues.”
Though we may never know all the details of Aretha Franklin’s marriage, her music still serves as a powerful support to other survivors. When she belts out, “All I’m askin’ is for a little respect when you get home…or you might walk in and find out I’m gone,” Franklin reminds us that we deserve respect from our partners—and it’s okay to leave a relationship in which you are not being respected. The lyrics to “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” presumed by her fans to have been written about her marriage to White, tell the story of a woman whose partner treats her terribly, but she is too in love with him to leave, even though she knows the relationship will not improve. The mixed messages in these songs are themes we at The Hotline hear about all the time. It is normal for survivors to experience feelings of confusion about their situation, and even to feel love for their partner(s) despite the abuse. Leaving is not the right choice for every person or every conflict. Aretha Franklin’s music serves as an important reminder that abuse—and the emotions that come with it—is extremely complicated, and each situation is unique.