What is domestic violence?
If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from domestic violence, we will help you recognize the signs and what measures you can take.
Very often people perceive domestic violence only as physical aggression in which one partner hits the other. However, this does not completely exhaust the term “domestic violence”. It includes any gesture – verbal or non-verbal – by which one person in the relationship exercises control or dominance over the other or their children. The victim is charged with feelings of guilt, shame, fear, dependence, and very often the abuser isolates her from the surrounding world in order to nurture his sense of ownership over her.
A victim of domestic violence can be anyone – men and women, people in heterosexual or homosexual relationships. Women suffer the highest percentage of domestic violence, although men can also be subject to emotional and verbal abuse.
In Bulgaria, a large number of people are still ashamed to admit that they are a victim of violence. This is a problem that needs to be worked on, as by a foundation “Until & Dock for the future’ we strive to campaign for greater awareness of human rights, how to recognize the signs of domestic violence and how legal provisions can help us to protect ourselves.
Common forms of domestic violence
Domestic violence can be classified into several types – verbal/emotional, economic, physical and sexual. We will briefly describe what these several main types include.
Economic violence (financial restraint)
If your partner has allowed himself to hurt you once, don’t kid yourself that it won’t happen again.
Accidental injury is a sign of crossing a line in the relationship where the partner accepts that everything is allowed and will go unpunished.
Causes of domestic violence
Most often, the aggressor shows himself as such to his closest family members, and in front of society, friends and relatives, he behaves beautifully and looks like a model of a loving husband. You should not forget that the abuser practices harassment quite consciously and tries to skillfully hide himself from outside eyes.
Consequences of domestic violence
Domestic violence can cause permanent and irreparable damage not only to the physical but also to the psyche of the victim. Follow-up therapy can take years for the victim to fully recover their mental health. The consequences of domestic violence are extremely individual in relation to the specifics of the case. We will list some of the most common ones:
The impact that violence has on children who witness domestic violence should not be overlooked. For them, this can lead to difficulties both in childhood and later in adulthood.
When do we need help?
There are a number of signs of domestic violence, which we will try to list.
The first and most obvious sign is feeling afraid of your partner. If you feel constant anxiety in communicating with him, try to be careful what words you use in front of him to avoid conflict, your relationship is probably toxic. Domestic violence is present if in your relationship:
Signs of an abusive relationship
In most cases, it is extremely difficult to notice from the outside that there is domestic violence in a couple. However, there are some telltale signs that may indicate that there is a problem with your loved one or neighbor. If you witness any of the signs listed below, it’s important to take action – try to talk to the victim or even call domestic violence crisis centers and the police.
• think a lot about the question of how to please their partner so that he is satisfied;
• fully agree with their partner controlling their daily life;
• receive frequent phone calls from their partner when they are seeing other people and the ringing of the phone disturbs them;
• share that their partner is jealous of them and has a stronger temperament; • have traces of injuries that justify an accidental slip/fall and similar household "accidents";
• wear unusual accessories - long-sleeved clothes in summer, scarves or sunglasses in closed spaces, with which they want to hide bruises and scars;
• miss work, school or appointments without explanation;
• see less and less with friends or relatives;
• they can hardly be seen alone, but always go out in the presence of their partner;
• have limited access to money, a car or even the Internet; • share that they could not afford to support themselves without the financial support of their partner.
Methods of prevention
Prevention is extremely important in reducing and preventing cases of domestic violence. Therefore, it is important to be informed and educate the next generations not only in maintaining family values, but also how to recognize the signs of domestic violence and not tolerate it. The victim should not suffer, but should take measures to limit contact with the abuser as quickly as possible.
It's time to end domestic violence!
The team of the “Dokova & Dokov for the Future” foundation fights for the prevention of cases of domestic violence, as well as for the provision of timely and reliable help to women and children suffering from abuse at home. If you share our cause, please keep spreading the word about domestic violence. You can contact us if you are interested in volunteering in our upcoming donation projects.