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Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior which involves one partner in a relationship being physically, emotionally, verbally or sexually abusive to the other partner. Globally, a wife or female partner is more commonly the victim of domestic violence, though the victim can also be the male partner, or both partners may engage in abusive or violent behavior, or the victim may act in self-defense or retaliation.
Domestic violence often occurs because the abuser believes that abuse is justified and acceptable. The victim of domestic violence may feel trapped in the violent situation through isolation, loss of power and control, inadequate money, fear, shame or to protect their children from violence.
Children who live in a household with violence may become fearful and anxious. They are always on guard, watching and waiting for the next event to occur and therefore, they never feel safe. They are always worried for themselves, the abused parent, and their siblings. They may feel worthless and powerless, enraged or humiliated. Physical responses to domestic violence may include stomachaches, headaches, bed-wetting, and the inability to concentrate. Behavioral responses of children who witness domestic violence may include acting out, withdrawal, or anxiousness to please. Children may also use violence to express themselves. Witnessing domestic violence may contribute to children becoming abusers or victims when they reach adulthood.
If you feel unsafe or isolated in your relationship it is important to reach out for help. The DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended) is conveniently located at Norwood Hospital 617-471-1234. The Massachusetts State website offers other Massachusetts Resources. National resources can be found at The Hotline or by calling 1-800-799-7233.