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Tremendous Impact Of Domestic Violence: Heal From The Trauma

Domestic Violence: Heal From The Trauma

Domestic violence is something you would not wish on your worst enemy. It is a cruel and destructive cycle of abuse that can have devastating physical, emotional, and psychological effects on victims. No one – man or woman – deserves to experience violence or fear in their own home.

However, intimate partner violence remains widespread and continues to increase. Unfortunately, one in every four women in our country has reported experiencing domestic abuse by the age of 15. Last year, 34 – or 49% of women killed – died under the hands of a current or former partner. All of those partners were men. We’re not even halfway through 2024, yet 27 women have been violently killed, most of them by someone they knew.

In this article, we will guide you through recognising domestic violence in your relationship, the signs and symptoms of trauma, finding help, healing, and moving forward.

(If you are a survivor of domestic violence or you find the topic triggering, please know that our team at Single Mama Way is here for you. Please skip this article if you are not in the proper headspace for this topic, and connect with us to book a counselling appointment if needed.)

Understanding Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence (also called domestic abuse, intimate partner abuse, dating violence or DV) is a pervasive issue that crosses countries, cultures, genders, and economic conditions. It includes abusive behaviours such as physicalemotionalsexual, or financial manipulation by an abuser towards a partner or family member.

Physical assault is what we first picture in our minds when we think of this form of abuse. There are also many cases that are non-physical and, thus, less obvious. Humiliation, gaslighting, and making one feel worthless are some forms of emotional abuse in a relationship.

Sexual abuse inside a marriage or an intimate relationship is often disregarded. But the truth is, it happens. Victims of sexual abuse in intimate relationships often face unique challenges and barriers when seeking help or support. Many feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their experiences, especially if the abuse is perpetrated by a partner or spouse whom they still love or care about. They may also fear judgment or disbelief from friends, family, or society at large.

Withholding money to trap the victim is financial abuse, and in many cases, this kind of abuse happens alongside other forms. The partner with the money may not deprive the abused partner. In fact, they may shower the other with expensive gifts. But the abused partner never gets to have their own money. This keeps the victim from leaving the abusive relationship because of the fear of not being able to support herself and the children.

Awareness of its different forms is the first step toward saving yourself or someone else from domestic violence.

The impact of domestic violence

The impact of DV extends beyond the immediate physical pain. It leads to emotional trauma and long-term psychological consequences for survivors. Research demonstrates its deep and lasting effects on both victims and witnesses, with outcomes ranging from post-traumatic stress to substance abuse.

A common consequence of domestic violence is the development of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. Survivors of such abuse may struggle with trauma responses and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), experiencing persistent triggers that worsen their emotional health.

The intersection of domestic violence and mental well-being underlines the urgent need for effective support systems and intervention strategies to mitigate the lasting impact on survivors.

Risk factors for domestic violence

Domestic violence can happen to anyone. However, there are several factors that increase the likelihood of experiencing abuse from a family member. Risk factors vary but can include a history of exposure to domestic violence, substance abuse, or a lack of social support.

Other risk factors may include:

  • Mental illness: Individuals with mental health issues may be more likely to engage in abusive behaviour.

  • Power dynamics: Relationships in which one partner has more power and control over the other are more likely to experience it.

  • Cultural norms: Societies that condone or minimise the impact of violence in relationships may be more likely to have higher rates.

  • Childhood experiences: Individuals who have experienced abuse or trauma in childhood may be more likely to perpetrate violence in their adult relationships.

  • Economic stress: Financial difficulties can increase stress levels and lead to conflict within relationships, potentially increasing the risk of DV.

  • Jealousy and possessiveness: These traits can be warning signs of an abusive relationship, as they may lead to controlling behaviour and emotional or physical violence.

  • Lack of conflict resolution skills: Inability to effectively communicate and resolve conflicts may lead to escalating tensions and violence in relationships.

  • Substance abuse: Alcohol and drugs can impair judgement and increase aggression, leading to an increased risk of violence in relationships.

  • Isolation: Individuals who are socially isolated or lack a strong support network may be more vulnerable to abuse, as the abuser may have more control over their victim.

  • Gender inequality: Societies that perpetuate traditional gender roles and stereotypes may be more likely to have higher rates of domestic violence, as women may be seen as inferior and more likely to be abused. 

Recognising these factors is crucial in identifying who may be at increased risk and implementing preventive measures to address the cycle of abuse.

Recognising the Signs and Symptoms of PTSD from Domestic Violence

Common PTSD symptoms in survivors of intimate partner abuse

Signs of PTSD are common in victims of domestic violence due to the ongoing traumatic experiences they have endured. These symptoms may include flashbacksnightmareshypervigilance, and avoidance behaviours that impact the individual’s daily functioning.

Domestic violence not only affects survivors’ mental health but also has significant physical health implications, such as chronic pain, injuries, and other stress-related ailments.

Effects on survivors’ emotional well-being

Trauma resulting from domestic abuse can manifest in survivors through feelings of fear, shame, and low self-worth. The emotional toll of domestic violence may lead to a sense of powerlessness and difficulty in forming trusting relationships in the future.

Impact Of Domestic Violence: Heal From The Trauma

Physical health impacts of domestic violence

According to the US Office on Women’s Health, domestic violence can show in the form of physical injuries, sexually transmitted infections, and trouble sleeping. It can also manifest as long-term health issues caused by prolonged exposure to stress and violence. These include asthma, digestive issues, low immunity, sexual problems, and more.

Survivors may encounter obstacles when trying to access medical treatment due to fear or lack of resources. This highlights the need for comprehensive support services that cater to both the physical and emotional needs of survivors.

Seeking Help and Support

Available treatment options for survivors of domestic violence in Australia

Survivors of domestic violence have access to a range of treatment options. Options aimed at addressing their unique needs and promoting healing. From individual therapy to support groups. Trauma-sensitive care practices prioritise the understanding of the complexities and forms of violence and tailor treatment plans accordingly. Creating a safe and supportive environment for survivors to share their experiences can enhance their recovery journey.

How can trauma-informed care benefit victims of domestic violence?

Trauma-informed care approaches emphasise empathy, trust, and collaboration between survivors and healthcare providers to empower individuals in their healing process. By integrating trauma-sensitive practices into treatment protocols, survivors are equipped with the tools and resources to navigate their emotional trauma. This, in turn, rebuilds their sense of safety and self-worth.

Rebuilding and Healing

Coping mechanisms for recovery from domestic violence trauma

One’s ability to cope plays a vital role in helping survivors recover from the trauma of domestic violence. Engaging in activities that promote self-care, such as mindfulness practices, journaling, or creative outlets, can provide individuals with healthy coping strategies to manage their emotional distress.

Additionally, group therapy offers a supportive community where survivors can share their stories, gain validation, and learn from others’ experiences.

Group therapy for domestic violence survivors

Groups provide a safe space for survivors to explore their emotions, build resilience, and develop positive ways to cope to navigate the challenges they face. Through shared experiences and mutual support, survivors can find solace. Knowing they are not alone in their horrible experience and their healing journey.

This collective strength fosters a sense of belonging and empowerment among individuals impacted by domestic violence.

Empowering Change and Advocacy

Available resources for individuals dealing with the trauma of domestic violence situations in Australia

Seeking help is a crucial step in breaking the cycle of abuse and prioritising one’s well-being.

Here are some available resources for those seeking help with domestic violence situations. These include national hotlines, shelters, and local support services:

00024/7 emergency number if your life is in danger
1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)24/7 national domestic violence hotline for anyone experiencing or at risk of experiencing
1800 ELDERHelp line (1800 353 374)Helpline if you are an elder or you know one who experiences domestic abuse
1800 050 321For family relationship advice, including separation from your abuser
131 114 (Lifeline)Government support services when you suffer from domestic abuse

How to become an advocate for ending domestic violence in our communities

In an ideal world, there is no place for domestic abuse. Unfortunately, the world we live in is far from ideal. Every day, you hear and read cases of horrific abuse done by someone the victim knew and loved.

Becoming an advocate for ending family and domestic violence starts with raising awareness. Challenging societal norms that perpetuate violence and supporting legislative reforms that prioritise the safety and rights of survivors. Remembering to report domestic violence among people you know or situations you noticed. These actions will decrease the violence occurring, minimise the impact and cases of domestic violence.

We can volunteer at local shelters and participate in awareness campaigns. We can also educate ourselves and others about the impact of domestic violence on individuals and communities.

Through collective action and advocacy, we can achieve meaningful change in reducing domestic violence.

If this article has stirred up emotions that you’re struggling to cope with. Please don’t hesitate to get help and speak with our counsellor today.


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