“Domestic violence is any act of physical, mental or sexual violence, and any attempt at such violence, as well as the forcible restriction of individual freedom and of privacy, carried out against individuals who have or have had family or kinship ties or cohabit or dwell in the same home.” -Law on protection Against Violence (2005) Bulgaria, Chapter 1, S. 2
The Domestic Violence Act (1998) of South Africa includes a definition of domestic violence which contains the following clause which embodies the concept of coercive control:
“…any other controlling or abusive behavior towards a complainant, where such conduct harms, or may cause imminent harm to, the safety, health, or well-being of the complainant.” Sec.1(viii)(j) The legislation then describes particular acts of abuse, such as economic abuse and emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse, in more detail.
This type of abuse does not discriminate and occurs within all economic levels, regardless of ethnic backgrounds and within all age ranges. It occurs among same-sex partnerships as well as heterosexual couples. Although it is commonly believed that woman are often victimized, men also experience abuse, especially emotionally and verbally. Physical abuse experienced by men is not uncommon.
- Believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
- Wonder if you are the one who is "crazy"?
- Feel emotionally numb or helpless?
- Feel afraid of your partner much of the time, or avoid certain topics out of fear at how your partner may respond?
- Yelling at you or humiliate you?
- Blaming you for their own abusive behavior?
- Consider you as property or a sexual object?
- Continuously criticizes you or puts you down?
- Destroying your belongings?
- Forcing you to have sex?
- Threatening to commit suicide if you leave?
- Having a bad and unpredictable temper?
- Saying they will hurt or kill you?
- Controlling where you go and what you do?
- Limiting your access to the phone, money or the car?
- Constantly check up on you?
- Acting excessively jealous and possessive?
- Keeping you from seeing your family or friends?