Domestic violence is one of the most heinous crimes in the eyes of the law and the society at large. In fact, few people will want to associate with you if you are viewed as a domestic violence perpetrator. Unfortunately, the crime isn't that well understood. For example, here are two main things many people don't know about domestic violence:
It Doesn't Have To Be Physical
Many people think that domestic violence perpetrators are those who hit their spouses or kick their children. Sure, those are examples of domestic violence, but they aren't definitions of domestic violence. In fact, domestic violence doesn't have to be physical or even violent. It includes any act that is meant to gain control over the victim. For example, you are committing domestic violence if you have taken over complete control of your family's finances and your spouse has no say on the family budget. In fact, there are various forms of domestic violence, such as these ones:
- Sexual abuse – Engaging or trying to engage in sexual conducts with a person without their consent
- Stalking someone- This includes stalking in the real world as well as cyber-stalking
- Economic abuse – Making or trying to make the victim financially reliant on you so that they can't question your acts because they depend on you financially
- Emotional and psychological abuse – Demeaning the victim's self-worth or intimidating them
As you can see, it is not just the acts of domestic violence that count; even their mere threats constitute domestic violence.
Victims Aren't Just Spouses and Children
Some people also believe, erroneously so, that only those who abuse their spouses or children commit domestic violence. That may have been so in the past, but the definition of domestic violence has broadened over the years to include many other parties. In this day and age, you can be accused of domestic violence if your victim is your former spouse, former romantic partner, family member (such as niece or uncle), and cohabiter, among others.
Therefore, if you have been stalking your former lover or abusing them all over social media, you can be successfully prosecuted for domestic violence. It all depends on the laws of your state, and don't forget that these laws are constantly evolving and what might not be considered domestic violence today can easily constitute domestic violence next week.
The misunderstandings mean that you can be charged with domestic violence even if you are fully convinced you haven't committed such an act. Still, ignorance isn't a criminal defense, so you still need a criminal defense law professional or lawyer's help to defend such charges.