Domestic Violence in 2022: Definitions, Statistics, and Prevention (Part 1)
The state of domestic violence in 2022 in the United States
As 2022 gets fully underway, the United States faces challenges both internal and worldwide, including the COVID-19 pandemic, lingering divisions over national politics, rising inflation and economic uncertainty, and geopolitical unrest--just to name a few.
When seemingly insurmountable global crises loom, it's easy to forget about problems that are likewise very serious and close to home but may receive less attention from national leaders and the news media.
For example, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) one in four women and one in ten men in the United States will experience sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime, and they will have reported at least one impact of this violence (such as being concerned for their personal safety). The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that the statistic is more like one in three women and one in four men in the United States.
Domestic violence is not just a problem, it's one of the top health concerns worldwide. In this two-part article, we will discuss domestic violence (including definitions and types), take a look at the state of domestic violence in 2022 in the United States, and then outline how domestic violence can be mitigated and prevented.
What is Domestic Violence?
Most people have a firm grasp of what domestic violence is. The legal definition according to the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women is as follows:
"The term 'domestic violence' includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction."
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), "Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, economic, and emotional/psychological abuse."
Put more simply, domestic violence is abuse enacted in a domestic setting (marriage, family, cohabitation, dating, etc.), or among people who were brought together by those domestic situations.
What Are the Types of Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence can take numerous forms, and abusers rarely limit themselves to a single type. The website findlaw.com (a resource for those seeking legal representation), lists the following eight major categories of domestic violence:
Physical abuse: Physical assault, (striking, punching, battering, shoving, etc.). Basically, any form of violence inflicted on another person. Denying food, water, or medical treatment, and forcing drugs or alcohol on another person are forms of physical abuse. Note: homicide is also included.
Sexual abuse: Coercing (and attempting to coerce) a victim into any form of sexual contact or behavior without the victim's consent. This includes touching or attacking sexual parts, marital rape, and sexually demeaning a victim with language or behavior.
Emotional abuse: The systematic attack upon a victim's sense of self-worth or self-esteem. This includes chronic criticism, name-calling, and damaging a victim's other relationships to an extent that the victim's abilities and life quality are negatively affected.
Economic abuse: This includes making the victim financially reliant on the abuser against their will (or attempting to do so). This can include exerting unauthorized control of the victim's own finances, an abuser withholding funds the victim needs for necessities, and even prohibiting a victim from having a job or going to work.
Psychological abuse: Inducing fear and terror through intimidation. This includes direct threats of physical harm, threatening self-harm, threatening harm to others (such as children), threatening or enacting violence against pets, enacting or threatening destruction of property, exhibiting weapons with implied intent to use them, and detaining victims against their will.
Stalking: A concerted effort to follow, surveil, and stay in touch with a victim, including unwanted contact, appearances, messages, correspondence, gifts, and information-gathering.
Cyberstalking: This comprises stalking activities that are perpetrated online (in e-mail or via social media) that inflict damage or emotional distress upon a victim.
With these definitions in place, we will continue this discussion in the second part of this two-part article. This will include some statistics about the prevalence of domestic violence in the United States and what can be done to mitigate and prevent it.