Is there a difference? I would say NO!! But I would be wrong!
The two terms are often used interchangeably but there really is a difference. To be termed Domestic Violence, an act must occur where physical violence has been used to coerce, control, intimidate or manipulate a person whom you have been or are currently in a relationship with into doing something they don’t have a desire to do. Domestic Abuse is used in the same relationships for the same reasons but it may or may not include physical abuse and the physical abuse would not be considered violent from those on the outside looking in.
Okay now that I have explained what the “textbook or legal” difference is between the two, I will add that I think it’s a bunch of crap (yes, I typed something else but remembered my mom may read this and I don’t want to offend her).
Here is the thing – VIOLENT OR NOT – ABUSE is ABUSE! In most cases, before an abuser inflicts physical abuse, they have already inflicted other forms of abuse – emotional or mental, verbal, financial, spiritual. Before they inflict a violent force, there has already been some type of nonviolent physical abuse, a push here a shove there. They have given the victim abused a reason to believe if they don’t adhere to the request, a more severe punishment may occur. Abusers thrive off the fear of their victim. But the abused must base whether it’s considered Domestic Violence or Domestic Abused on what someone else believes it to be. Now that makes me mad!!!
As a survivor of Domestic Violence, I have used the words interchangeable (but I can admit now it was because of my own shame of admitting to the abuse). I felt if I called it domestic abuse it wouldn’t sound so horrible when I forgave it and stayed in it. If I called it domestic abuse no one would know how severe it was. If I called it domestic abuse maybe it would go away. If I called it domestic abuse it would just insinuate there may have been a little yelling here or there. If I called it domestic abuse I would “save face” – mine and his.
Regardless if you call it Domestic Violence or Domestic Abuse. Regardless why you call it what you call it. Regardless if the abuser hits you or yells at you. Regardless if they quote scripture or yell curse words at you. Regardless if they give you an allowance or forbid you to touch the account. IT IS ABUSE! And because it is between individuals who are or where in an intimate (emotional) relationship it’s called DOMESTIC!! Regardless it MUST STOP!!
This is a very sensitive topic and I of all people am very aware how it can be a trigger to many. When I write about it, I am reminded of the pain I felt, the shame I felt, the guilt I felt but then I am reminded that I SURVIVED!!! I’m reminded that I got out! I’m reminded that my past does not defined my destiny!
Until Next Time,