Can Anyone be a Victim of Domestic Violence? Can Anyone be an Abuser?

Can anyone be a victim of domestic violence?

Yes. There is NO “typical victim.” Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life, varying age groups, all backgrounds, all communities, all education levels, all economic levels, all cultures, all ethnicities, all religions, all abilities, and all lifestyles.

Victims of domestic violence do not bring violence upon themselves, they do not always lack self-confidence, nor are they as abusive as the abuser.

Can anyone be an abuser?

Yes. They come from all groups, all cultures, all religions, all economic levels, and all backgrounds. They can be your neighbor, your pastor, your friend, your child’s teacher, a relative, a coworker—anyone. It is important to note that the majority of abusers are only violent with their current or past intimate partners. One study found that 90 percent of abusers do not have criminal records and abusers are generally law-abiding outside the home. While there is no one typical, detectable personality of an abuser, they do often display common characteristics. An abuser often denies the existence or minimizes the seriousness of the violence and its effect on the victim and other family members. An abuser objectifies the victim and often sees them as their property or sexual object. An abuser has low self-esteem and feels powerless and ineffective in the world. He or she may appear successful, but internally, they feel inadequate. An abuser externalizes the causes of their behavior. They blame their violence on circumstances such as stress, their partner’s behavior, a “bad day,” on alcohol, drugs, or other factors. An abuser may be pleasant and charming between periods of violence and is often seen as a “nice person” to others outside the relationship.

Sources: The United Nations, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Violence Domestic Hotline and Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

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