Domestic abuse is the pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting such as in marriage or cohabitation.

It can also be referred to as someone trying to control another family member. It can be directed towards elders, spouses, siblings, or children and it can take many forms.

All families have conflicts, but when there is a pattern of control and manipulation it is domestic abuse. The abuse happens in a predictable cycle: tension, violence, calm, Tension, violence, calm…….. It happened daily or some certain days of the week. When it happens over time the victim begins to feel unable to live without the abuser.

Domestic violence affects men and women of any ethnic group, race, or religion, gay or straight, rich or poor, teen, adults or elderly. But most victims are women.


PHYSICAL: it starts with slap, then beating, choking, throwing things, kicking, and shoving.

photo credit naij.com

VERBAL: negative defining statement to victim e.g they are stupid, unable to do anything right, and nothing good will come of them and so on.

SEXUAL: forcing sexual relations on the victims it may be male or female.

ECONOMIC: withholding money, food, education, medical help, from the victim to make them feel weak and dependent.

EMOTIONAL: characterized by a person subjecting or exposing the victim to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, anxiety, depression, and fear.

REPRODUCTIVE: threats of violence against the partner’s reproductive health or decision making. It is a collection of behavior intended to pressure or coerce the partner in becoming a parent or pregnant.

RELIGIOUS: administered under the guise of religion, including harassment or humiliation which may result to psychological trauma. Abuse may also include misuse of religion for selfish, secular, ideological ends such as the abuse of clerical positions.


1. Be a good listener: victims needs someone to talk to, it can be difficult because their abusers isolate them from others.

2. Avoid marital counseling: don’t recommend the couples seeing a counselor together.

3. Why stay? ask the victim why they want to stay and don’t advice them to leave. Talk about the negative and positives of the relationship.

4. See effects: victim needs to see the effects on them and their family.

5. Not their fault: help them to understand it is not their fault but that of the abuser.

6. A plan: help the plan a safe plan to get out of the relationship and it should be in a calm situation.


1 Help them realize they have a problem. Often they have deceived themselves and blame others.

2 Help them deal with the root causes of the problem.

3 Help them identify the things that trigger their abusive behavior and develop ways of responding.

4 They need to ask for forgiveness from the victim.

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healing the wounds of trauma by stefanos foundation; expanded edition 2016