There’s More to Domestic Violence than just Physical Abuse

The words Domestic Violence often prompt us to envision physical situations where people are having things thrown at them, beaten, pushed down the stairs, killed etc. And rightfully so. These are the behaviors news stories are filled with, and usually, one cannot prove domestic violence without marks caused by the other person involved. However, domestic violence (also termed physical abuse) is only one type of domestic abuse. There are several other types of abuse that are also meant to control and manipulate an intimate partner.

In the United States, statistics show that women are more likely to suffer some type of domestic abuse than men are, although some professionals argue that the statistics are skewed on the men’s side. This may due to less men reporting abuse from their intimate partner for fear of judgment and shaming. The Center of Disease Control reported that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men (18 years or older) in the US have endured severe physical violence from an intimate partner; additionally, 1 in 14 men and 1 in 6 women have experienced sexual violence from an intimate partner. Most recent statistics from the National Domestic Violence Hotline state that nearly half of all men and women in the US have reported experiencing some type of psychological aggression by an intimate partner.

Domestic abuse isn’t limited to physical violence, and can also include verbal, psychological/emotional, financial, sexual, and spiritual. Another form that has recently been brought to light is digital abuse, which can also lead to other abuse, such as psychological.

domestic violence awareness month, perspectives therapy services

So why doesn’t s(he) leave? Considering what we know about the different types of abuse, there are a number of reasons someone may not leave an abusive relationship. Someone may be able to escape by themselves, but have children who would make the escape less possible and may elect to not leave the children. Some individuals will not leave without their pets either, and some shelters have been more accommodating to furry family members for this reason. Other individuals may have no finances with which to support themselves, and without friends/family (due to alienation), may not be able to leave due to financial circumstances. A person’s religious beliefs also may keep them from leaving an abusive marriage. Furthermore, psychological manipulation by the abuser may have placed a thought in the mind of the victim that they are in the wrong, and the abuser is the real victim, thus deciding to stay or keep coming back to the relationship. These examples are, of course, not all-inclusive.

If you feel you are experiencing abuse of any kind, please know that you are worth more than what you endure, and consider talking to someone you trust who may be able to help you. For more about domestic abuse/violence, please feel free to view the links listed below, as well as visit our Facebook page throughout the month of October for traits of abuse, as well as statistics.

Additional Resources


Perspectives Therapy Services is a multi-site mental and relationship health practice with clinic locations in Brighton, Lansing, Highland, Fenton and New Hudson, Michigan. Our clinical teams include experienced, compassionate and creative therapists with backgrounds in psychology, marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work. Our practice prides itself on providing extraordinary care. We offer a customized matching process to prospective clients whereby an intake specialist carefully assesses which of our providers would be the very best fit for the incoming client. We treat a wide range of concerns that impact a person's mental health including depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, low self-worth, life transitions, and childhood and adolescent difficulties.