Domestic violence – pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship, such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation. It is also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence (IPV).
Negative reinforcement: removing one from a negative situation as a reward. For example: "You won't have to walk home if you allow me to do this to you."
Intermittent or partial reinforcement: partial or intermittent negative reinforcement can create an effective climate of fear and doubt. Partial or intermittent positive reinforcement can encourage the victim to persist.
Traumatic one-trial learning: verbal abuse, explosive anger, or other intimidating behavior to establish dominance or superiority; even one incident of such behavior can condition or train victims to avoid upsetting, confronting or contradicting the manipulator.
Oppression – exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. It can also be defined as an act or instance of oppressing, the state of being oppressed, and the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, and anxiety.
The following table includes the forms of violence typically defined as part of Intimate partner violence, which is domestic violence in an intimate relationship by one's spouse or lover. It also includes a column for other family members or partners.
The rate of occurrence varies considerably based upon one's country, socio-economic class, culture, religion, family history and other factors.
Form of Violence
Intimate Partners / Domestic Violence
Other family members or partners
Acid throwing – violent assault by throwing acid onto the body of a person "with the intention of injuring or disfiguring out of jealousy or revenge."
Breast ironing – pounding and massaging of a pubescent girl's breasts using heated objects in an attempt to make them stop developing or disappear.
Bride burning – form of domestic violence for unresolved dowry issues resulting in death.
Bride-buying – illegal industry or trade of "purchasing a bride" to become property that can be resold or repurchased for reselling.
Dating abuse – pattern of abusive behavior exhibited by one or both partners in a dating relationship.
Domestic violence and pregnancy – abusive behavior towards a pregnant woman that whether physical, verbal or emotional, produces many adverse physical and psychological effects for the mother and fetus.
Dowry death – deaths of young women who are murdered or driven to suicide by continuous harassment and torture by husbands and in-laws in an effort to extort an increased dowry.
Economic abuse – form of abuse when one intimate partner has control over the other partner's access to economic resources, which diminishes the victim's earning capacity and forces financial reliance on the perpetrator.
Elder abuse – "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person."
Foot binding – binding the feet of young girls painfully tight to prevent further growth.
Honor killing – homicide of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief of the perpetrators that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family or community. Honor killings are directed mostly against women and girls, but have been extended to men. Also spelled "honour killing" (American and British spelling differences).
Marital rape – non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim's spouse, and as such, is a form of domestic violence, and sexual abuse. Although repudiated by international conventions and increasingly criminalized, in many countries, spousal rape either remains legal, or is illegal but widely tolerated and accepted as a husband's prerogative. Also known as "spousal rape".
Parental abuse by children – parents subject to levels of childhood aggression in excess of normal childhood aggressive outbursts, typically in the form of verbal or physical abuse.
Parental abuse of children – physical or psychological/emotional mistreatment of children. It is often distinguished from domestic violence as its own form of violence.
Psychological abuse – form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Such abuse is often associated with situations of power imbalance, such as abusive relationships, bullying, child abuse and workplace bullying. Psychological abuse is also referred to as "emotional abuse" or "mental abuse".
Physical abuse – abuse involving contact intended to cause feelings of intimidation, injury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm.
Sexual violence – any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work.
Spiritual abuse – serious form of abuse which occurs when a person in religious authority or a person with a unique spiritual practice misleads and maltreats another person in the name of God or church or in the mystery of any spiritual concept.
Stalking – unwanted and obsessive attention by an individual or group to another person. Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person and/or monitoring them via the internet.
Domestic violence affects people across society, irrespective of age, gender, sexual orientation, culture, religion or socio-economic status. Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE), a United Statesdomestic violence organization, advocates for an "inclusive" model of domestic violence, focusing on groups that are "lacking in services", such as abused men, gay, lesbian, intersex, and transgender victims, and the elderly.
Some forms of domestic violence are unique to women victims:
A large study, compiled by Martin S. Fiebert, shows that women are as likely to be abusive to men, but the men are less likely to be hurt. However, he noted, men are seriously injured in 38% of the cases in which "extreme aggression" is used. Fiebert additionally noted that his work was not meant to minimize the serious effects of men who abuse women.[nb 1] Women are far more likely to use weapons, such as throwing a plate or firing a gun. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) contends that a national survey, supported by NIJ, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics that examined more serious assaults, does not support the conclusion of similar rates of male and female spousal assaults. This survey was conducted within a safety or crime context and found more partner abuse by men against women.[nb 2] A study published in the Violence & Victims Journal Vol. 1 concluded that a feminist analysis of Domestic Abuse was necessary to combat common misconceptions. The study found that 92% of women who used violence against their male partners were in self-defense, and that violence reciprocated by victims may be an integral part of abuse victimology.
Abuse in same-sex relationships is under-researched area of domestic violence, with a very wide range of prevalence estimates, and with fewer resources available for shelter and counseling.
Conflict tactics scale – research method for identifying intimate partner violence by measuring the conflict tactic behaviors.
Cycle of abuse – social cycle theory to explain patterns of behavior of a violent intimate relationship: Tension building phase, acting-out phase, reconciliation / honeymoon phase, and calm phase, which leads back to the tension building phase.
Within a relationship – repeated acts of violence as a cyclical pattern, associated with high emotions and doctrines of retribution or revenge. The pattern, or cycle, repeats and can happen many times during a relationship. Each phase may last a different length of time and over time the level of violence may increase.
Intergenerational cycle of violence – violence that is passed from father to son or daughter, parent to child, or sibling to sibling.
Misandry – the hatred or dislike of men or boys, which manifests like Misogyny.
Misogyny – the hatred or dislike of women or girls, may be manifested in varying degrees of intensity, like teaching girls or women to feel self-contempt or violence.
Relational disorder – dysfunction within a relationship, versus being specific to a specific individual's dysfunction.
Situational couple violence – arises infrequently out of conflicts that escalate to arguments and then to violence, rather than a general pattern of control. It is likely the most common type of intimate partner violence. Women are "almost as likely" as men to be abusers, however, women are more likely to be physically injured, require police intervention and become fearful of their mates.
Intimate terrorism (IT) – pattern of ongoing control using emotional, physical and other forms of domestic violence. It is what was traditionally the definition of domestic violence depicted in the "Power and Control Wheel" which illustrates the different and inter-related forms of abuse.
Violent resistance (VR), or "self-defense" – violence perpetrated by victims against their abusive partners. It is generally used infrequently because, men are often better able to physically overpower women.
Common couple violence (CCV) – domestic violence "in which conflict occasionally gets ‘out of hand,’ leading usually to ‘minor’ forms of violence, and rarely escalates into serious or life-threatening forms of violence."
Mutual violent control (MVC) – rare type of intimate partner violence that occurs when both partners act in a violent manner, battling for control.
The incidence of abuse may result in the following:
Domestic violence court – specialized courts designed to improve victim safety and enhance defendant accountability, created in response to frustration among victim advocates, judges and attorneys who saw the same litigants cycling through the justice system repeatedly.
Injunction – equitable remedy in the form of a court order that requires a party to do or refrain from doing certain acts. A party that fails to comply with an injunction faces criminal or civil penalties and may have to pay damages or accept sanctions. In some cases, breaches of injunctions are considered serious criminal offenses that merit arrest and possible prison sentences.
Restraining order – requires a party to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts. A party that refuses to comply with an order faces criminal or civil penalties and may have to pay damages or accept sanctions. Breaches of restraining orders can be considered serious criminal offences that merit arrest and possible prison sentences. The term is most commonly used in reference to domestic violence, harassment, stalking or sexual assault.
Contemporary Family Therapy – journal with articles about "the latest developments in theory, research and practice pertaining to family therapy, with an emphasis on examining families within their broader socio-economic and ethnic matrices."
Family Process – non-profit journal with current articles about family system issues, focusing on research, policy, and applied practice.
Family Relations – international journal, published on behalf of the National Council on Family Relations, regarding family studies.
International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
^Martin S. Fiebert of the Department of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach, has compiled an annotated bibliography of research relating to spousal abuse by women on men. This bibliography examines 275 scholarly investigations: 214 empirical studies and 61 reviews and/or analyses appear to demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 365,000. In a Los Angeles Times article about male victims of domestic violence, Fiebert suggests that "...consensus in the field is that women are as likely as men to strike their partner but that—as expected—women are more likely to be injured than men."
^The National Institute of Justice states that studies finding equal or greater frequency of abuse by women against men are based on data compiled through the Conflict Tactics Scale. This survey tool was developed in the 1970s and may not be appropriate for intimate partner violence research because it does not measure control, coercion, or the motives for conflict tactics; it also leaves out sexual assault and violence by ex-spouses or partners and does not determine who initiated the violence.
^Violence., Merriam-Webster Dictionary Retrieved January 8, 2009.
^Violence., Oxford English Dictionary Retrieved January 8, 2009.
^Violence., American Heritage Dictionary, Violence, Retrieved January 8, 2009.
^Braiker, Harriet B. (2004) Who's Pulling Your Strings? How to Break The Cycle of ManipulationISBN0-07-144672-9.
^ abAdams, Adrienne; Sullivan, Bybee, Greeson. (May 2008) "Development of the Scale of Economic Abuse." Violence Against Women14(5):563–588. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
^Brewster, M. P. (2003) "Power and Control Dynamics in Pre-stalking and Stalking Situations." Journal of Family Violence.18(4):207–217.
^Sanders, Cynthia. Organizing for Economic Empowerment of Battered Women: Women’s Savings Accounts. Center for Social Development, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
Second version published as: Fiebert, Martin S. (June 2004). "References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: an annotated bibliography". Sexuality and Culture. 8 (3–4): 140–176. doi:10.1007/s12119-004-1001-6.
Third version published as: Fiebert, Martin S. (March 2010). "References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: an annotated bibliography". Sexuality and Culture. 14 (1): 49–91. doi:10.1007/s12119-009-9059-9.
Fourth version published as: Fiebert, Martin S. (June 2014). "References examining assaults by women on their spouses or male partners: an annotated bibliography". Sexuality and Culture. 18 (2): 405–467. doi:10.1007/s12119-013-9194-1. Available to download as a word document here.
^Bachman, R.; D. Carmody. (1994) "Fighting Fire with Fire: The Effects of Victim Resistance in Intimate Versus Stranger Perpetrated Assaults Against Females." Journal of Family Violence.9(4):317–31. doi:10.1007/BF01531942.
^Johnson, M. P., (1995). Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence: Two forms of violence against women. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 283–294.
^Saunders D.G. (1998). "Wife Abuse, Husband Abuse, or Mutual Combat? A Feminist Perspective on the Empirical Findings." Feminist perspectives on wife abuse. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. pp. 90–113. ISBN0-8039-3053-4.
^ abcShipway, Lynn. (2004). Domestic violence: a handbook for health professionals. New York: Routledge. ISBN978-0-415-28220-8.
^ abMayhew, P.; Mirlees-Black, C.; Percy, A. (1996) The 1996 British Crime Survey England & Wales. Home Office.