Domestic and family violence is everywhere.
To quote the words of Rosie Batty, tireless family violence advocate and 2015 Australian of the Year: "Family violence does not discriminate. It exists in every pocket of every neighbourhood. It's an epidemic. Family violence happens to everybody, no matter how nice your house is or how intelligent you are. It happens to anyone and everyone."
Domestic violence is violence and other abuse which is usually perpetrated by one person against another in a close domestic setting. While it is most commonly seen in the context of intimate relationships, it can also occur in other family relationships.
The violence can involve physical abuse including biting, kicking, punching, choking, rape, bashings, stabbings, shootings and homicides.
But what is less known about in society is the other forms of abuse which often accompany physical abuse. These include psychological abuse, financial abuse, social abuse, verbal abuse, spiritual abuse image-based abuse.
While these forms of abuse are largely invisible to the outside world they are often far more destructive than many forms of physical abuse.
It is not uncommon to see cases of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or addiction stemming from prolonged exposure to abuse.
At the root of all domestic violence lies power and control. The perpetrator uses abusive behaviours to control, belittle, isolate and intimidate the other person, often with lifelong consequences.
While both males and females can be perpetrators, the statistics of male-perpetrated violence speak for themselves. On average, one woman a week in Australia is being killed at the hands of her current or former partner*.
With this statistic in mind, I implore you to act. If you see something, say something. Domestic violence is a violation of a person's human rights.
- Erica is a Women's Health Counsellor in private practice in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. You can read more about her work at www.shecounselling.com.au. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0412 707 242.