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Definitions and Effects of Domestic and Sexual Violence

The Effects of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can include physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and economic abuse. Some common effects of domestic violence on victim and survivors can include:

  • Physical injuries
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Depression
  • Feelings of guilt and self-blame
  • Feelings of mistrust
  • Anxiety
  • Strain on friendships, family (increased isolation)

The Effects of Sexual Violence

Survivors of sexual assault often go through many different emotions. Everyone responds to trauma in their own way. It is important for you to understand that a survivors’ feelings may change over time. Some survivors show little emotion, or even joke around about what has happened. This does not mean that they are not hurting. It simply means that they are coping. Whatever a survivor of sexual violence is feeling, it is normal. Some emotional effects include fear, anger, sadness, guilt, numbness, anxiety, loneliness, confusion, irritability, to name a few.

In addition to healing from physical injuries that resulted from a sexual assault, survivors may experience physical changes. Physical effects could inlcude fatigue, change in appetite, jumpiness, insomnia, stomach ache, headache.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence ca"n be defined as a pattern of behavior in a relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse includes physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone. Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Domestic violence is more common than most people think it is.

The CDC estimates that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men in the United States are victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. 1 in 5 female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.

Supporting A Friend Or Loved One

If someone you know is being abused, there are many ways you can help. Believe the person you care about when they share their experiences. Tell the person you care about that it is not their fault. Empower your friend or loved one to make their own decisions. Learn more about domestic violence. Be there for the person you care about by listening, sharing information about domestic violence and just being a good friend.

What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual assault is defined as any nonconsensual contact or penetration by physical force, by threat of bodily harm, or when the victim is incapable of giving consent by virtue of mental illness, mental retardation, intoxication or being under the age of consent (16 years old in NH). (National Coalition Against Sexual Assault).

If you or someone you care about has been affected by domestic violence, you are not alone. Turning Points Network is available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to provide support and information.

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Sexual Violence

  • 1. Sexual assault is a crime that is motivated by a desire for power and control. It is not motivated by sexual desire or uncontrollable feelings. Perpetrators use sex as a means of gaining power over another person.
  • 2. Sexual assault is a violent crime. Pressuring, coercing or forcing someone to engage in a sex act is violent. Sexual assault inflicts harm, which may be emotional, physical or both.
  • 3. Most sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance of the victim. 80-85% of individuals who have been assaulted know the person that hurt them (a casual acquaintance, a friend, a partner, a spouse or a family member). Assaults committed by strangers account for the remaining 15-20%.
  • 4. Anyone can be a victim of sexual violence. Women and men, boys and girls, are assaulted. Individuals of different ages, races and social classes are all at risk.
  • 5. No one ever "asks" or "deserves" to be assaulted. The victim's identity, what s/he does for work, how s/he acts and dresses do not cause a sexual assault to occur. The person who chooses to commit the assault is 100% responsible for its occurrence.

It is estimated that one in three women and one in seven men will be sexually assaulted in her/his lifetime. Unfortunately, sexual assault remains the most dramatically under-reported crime in our country.

What should you do if you have been sexually assaulted?

Read This

What is Stalking?

Stalking is a series of actions that make you feel afraid or in danger. Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time. A stalker can be someone you know well or not at all. Most have dated or been involved with the people they stalk.

1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime.
1.4 million people are stalked every year in the United States. Information adapted from The National Center for Victims of Crime

Supporting A Friend Or Loved One

Stalking can be very frightening for a victim or survivor. It may also be frightening for those who care about them. If someone you know is being stalked:

  • 1. Talk with her/him about safety. Help them plan for different situations.
  • 2. Listen. Let the person you care about talk about their experiences and express their emotions.
  • 3. Learn more about stalking. Contact Turning Points Network or check out our links page to get more information about stalking.