The statistics around domestic violence are staggering: in the United States, one in every four women experience severe physical violence from an intimate partner at some point in their lifetimes. Over 15 million children witness violence in their homes each year. Most incidents are never reported to the police.
Though exact legal definitions vary depending on where you are located, domestic violence can generally be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior characterized by the intent to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner or other family members. The abuse can be established over time and in most cases, it begins subtly with insults, a shove or by alienating a survivor from family and friends. With time, the abusive behavior can be more frequent and increase in severity.
Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, economic and/or psychological abuse. It affects people of all ages, sexual orientations, religions, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels, and takes place in all kinds of relationships. Domestic violence is a crime rooted in power and control—it is never "caused" by making someone angry or upset. It is never justifiable or excusable, nor is it ever the fault of a survivor. All people deserve to be in healthy and loving relationships free of violence.
At Joyful Heart, we believe in the inherent health and resiliency of survivors. We understand how difficult the pain of these experiences can be, and we honor the strength, courage and time it takes to survive and heal. It is our sincerest hope and intention that the information and resources in this section—and throughout the rest of this site—can help along that journey.
In this section, you can find more information on the following topics related to domestic violence:
Click on any of these links to learn more.