Domestic & Relationship Violence includes any number of behaviors used by one person to control another in a current or former relationship.
Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Psychological Abuse, Social Isolation, and Economic Deprivation are all included in the term Domestic Violence. Any one or a combination of these is never okay, and is against the law.
Physical Abuse is any actual or threatened physical attacks, even when these physical attacks are not directed at the person, but instead at a wall or breaking a possession. It may often begin by "playful" pinching or pushing, but often escalates to shoving, burning, and striking.
Sexual Abuse is any forced or coerced sexual act. Just because someone is in a relationship, does
not make them obligated to any sexual behavior. Also, often, after a bout of violence,
the abuser feels guilt or remorse and wants to "make love" to put things right. Out
of fear of further violence, a survivor may give in.
Psychological Abuse is attacks on the targets self-esteem and self-worth. This often takes the form of name-calling, manipulation, or intimidation. Often after a survivor's self-worth has been broken down, he/she may feel responsible for further abuse. Many people believe that as long as a person isn't being hit, that it isn't that bad. The effects of psychological abuse, however, often last much longer than those of physical abuse.
Social Isolation occurs through manipulation, by playing on a person's sympathies, by intimidation, or by forbidding a person to go out or to see friends and family. The effect is further control, as the person loses resources available to them.
Economic Deprivation occurs either by theft, by destruction of property, or by clinging to traditional values of one person being "the bread winner." Again, the effect is that the survivor has fewer resources and is further under the control of the abuser.
Domestic Violence tends to follow a predictable cycle.
During the apology period, an abuser may seem incredibly remorseful and even sweet to the person being abused. This explains, in part, why a person stays within these abusive relationships.