Domestic violence usually involves a female victim and can be a cause for post traumatic stress disorder for all of its victims. These cases of domestic violence cause more instances of emotional harm to American females than the total combined effects of serious injuries from car collisions, muggings, and rapes by strangers. Domestic violence does not necessarily mean that physical abuse such as punching or kicking has taken place. Domestic violence can come in the form of verbal or emotional harm as well as sexual abuse. Verbal abuse can range from threatening verbal communication to using language that degrades the victim. Sexual abuse can include sexual touching or intercourse that is unwanted.
There are certain traits that a person possesses which makes them more likely to be an abusive individual. If an individual has a record of battering other partners in the past or if fits of rage frequently cause an individual to break objects or punch walls during arguments, an individual is more likely to be abusive. Other predictors include the amount of jealousy a person tends to have as well as how controlling a personality a person possesses. People who use violence to settle disputes and are susceptible to frequent mood changes tend to be more abusive in relationships.
Approximately twenty to thirty percent of all females in America will experience an abusive relationship at some point in their lives. Every year, an estimated 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are abused. Approximately 200,000 women are raped by someone who they are involved in a relationship with while an estimated 500,000 women are stalked every year by their partner. Upwards of twenty-five percent of women are battered during pregnancy and thirty percent of the women that are murdered are murdered by their intimate partner. Children are also hurt by domestic violence when they are forced to witness the abuse. An estimated 3.3 million children are exposed to relationship abuse every year. Many times, abuse victims stay with their violent partner because of fear or because of threats that their partner will harm them even worse if they attempt to seek help. Some victims feel that they are responsible for their abuse and do not seek out help because of their feelings of guilt.