When you hear about cases of alleged domestic violence, the first thing that likely comes into your mind is an image of a man beating up a woman. The truth of the matter is that in Minnesota and everywhere else, domestic violence is not limited to that scenario.
Domestic violence concerns can exist at many levels – adult-to-adult, adult-to-child, sibling-to-sibling – the key elements that legally define instances of domestic violence are two-fold. First, they involve individuals in a close relationship. Second, victims making such a claim have to show a pattern of abusive behavior on the part of the perpetrator. In some cases, it might be necessary to show that the abuser's behavior was intended to exercise control over the victim.
What domestic violence looks like
As we have already noted, domestic violence is not always physicall. It can be sexual in nature, psychological or emotional. An abuser might exercise control through financial restrictions. Regardless of the type of violence, such behavior is troubling. Indeed, the U.S. Surgeon General is on record saying that domestic violence is the top health concern in the country.
Physical abuse amounts to any type of violent behavior toward a victim. This could take the form of a punch or a pinch. Preventing a victim from getting needed medical care or forcing someone to consume alcohol or drugs against their will is a form of abuse, too.
Sexual abuse can involve any forced sexual encounter without the victim's consent. Marital rape falls into this category. But it could include demeaning the victim sexually or even making the person the butt of sexual jokes.
Emotional and psychological abuse seeks to undermine the victim's sense of self-worth. Being able to showing a pattern of abusive behavior is crucial to being able to uphold such a claim. The emotional stress could be the result of physical stalking by the abuser, or stalking online.
What becomes clear is that almost anyone can be a target of domestic violence and that it can take many forms. Fortunately, legal remedies may be available to victims across the spectrum of possible relationships. To take advantage of them, it's important to understand what domestic violence looks like and to consult an experienced attorney about any possible options available.