The information is adapted from the New York State Coalition Against
Domestic Violence (www.nyscadv.org) as well as the Office for the Prevention of Domestic
Domestic violence is a pattern of
coercive behavior used to maintain power and control over an intimate partner.
Domestic violence has its roots in
sexism and the historical oppression of women.
Intimate-partner violence occurs in families of all
social, racial, economic, educational and religious backgrounds. It is
towns, suburbs, rural areas and neighborhoods. While women with fewer
economic resources may seek help more often or report domestic violence more
frequently, it doesn’t mean that women in the upper and middle classes are less
likely to be victimized. Economic advantages can improve a woman's options
and resources and facilitate access to readily-available private
services--resulting in underreported violence.
Misperception Versus Reality
and drug abuse cause intimate-partner violence.
Reality: Alcohol and drug abuse do not cause intimate-partner
violence. In the presence of alcohol and drug abuse, violence may increase
or become more severe, and existent violent behavior may intensify.
Sixty-five percent of intimate-partner violence
cases DO NOT involve drugs or alcohol. Many batterers do not abuse
alcohol or drugs, and many alcohol or drug abusers do not batter.
Chemical dependency treatment will not cure battering; the two problems
need to be addressed separately. The alcohol abuse rate for abused
women is similar to that of the general female population, 7 to
14 percent. Moreover, a woman's alcohol abuse does not justify being
women are masochistic and crazy; they provoke and enjoy their abuse.
Reality: Women do not provoke or deserve battering. They
deserve a violence-free life. As it happens with rape, an attempt is made to
blame the victim for the behavior of the attacker. Abusers commonly blame
their battering on alcohol and drug abuse, minor frustrations, and/or the words
or behavior of their partner. However, the abuser's use of violence is the
abuser's choice. There are non-violent ways to deal with anger.
A battered woman's reactions to the violence are normal, given the
circumstances, and the reactions are often necessary for survival. She is not
crazy. She still hopes her partner will change, and indeed, he may show remorse
and good times may follow. However, over time, remorse and good times will
decrease, while the abuse and violence escalate.
--Myth: Men who abuse women are mentally ill and not responsible for
Reality: Battering is a learned behavior from childhood
experiences and from social messages condoning violence against women. Psychological tests have repeatedly shown that men who abuse women do not differ
from the "normal" male. Lenore Walker's study* showed that batterers had learned
as children that violence was an appropriate response to anger. Abusers are not
out of control; they are attempting to gain control over their partner through demands,
threats, and physical abuse. They deny and minimize the violence; they blame
their partners for the violence. The violent behaviors of abusers will
continue as long as society refuses to treat intimate-partner violence as a
serious crime and impose serious consequences.
Are You In An Abusive Relationship?
Domestic violence can take many
different forms. It involves physical, emotional, mental, economical, and sexual
abuse. At first, the control and manipulation a partner uses can be very
subtle. The abuse can and will escalate over time. Answer "yes" or "no" to the
Does your partner continually
criticize what you wear, what you say, how you act and how you look?
Does your partner humiliate or make
fun of you in public places and social situations?
Does your partner often call you
insulting and degrading names?
Do you feel like you need to ask
permission to go out and see your friends and family?
Do you turn down invitations to be
with your friends and family because your partner will be angry at you for
Do you feel you need to apologize to people or make up excuses for your
Do you feel like no matter what you
do, everything is always your fault?
If you're late getting home, does your
partner harass you about where you were and who you were with?
Has your partner threatened to hurt
you or the children if you leave?
Does your partner force you to have
sex whether you want to or not?
Are you afraid to say no to sex?
Have you been repeatedly accused of
flirting or having sex with others?
Does your partner restrict you from
getting a job or going to school?
Has your partner hit you or threatened
to hit you?
Has your partner ever pushed, shoved,
kicked or slapped you?
Do you ever explain away bruises,
cuts, or other injuries as results of how "clumsy" you are?
Do you feel nervous or afraid for your
safety when your partner becomes angry?
Are you afraid to disagree with your
Are you frightened by your partner's
violence towards other people or animals?
Do you change your behavior or "walk
on eggshells," depending on your partner's mood?
Do you ever think "If only I was
prettier", or "If only I cleaned the house better", or "If only I had kept the
children quieter", etc., "then my partner wouldn't have been angry?"
If you answer "yes" to any of
these questions, you may be a victim of abuse.
Courts and the Legal System
Overview of the issue
The Legal System in New York
State is divided into two
areas: Civil Law and Criminal Law. Separate courts govern
these two areas of law:
handles cases where neither party is accused of having committed a
crime. In a civil domestic violence action, you are asking for
protection from your abuser, not punishment of
The Criminal Law system deals with all cases involving violations
of criminal law and requires pressing criminal charges against your
Protection: An order
of protection is a civil order that provides protection from someone who you
are married to, separated from, divorced from, have a child in common with,
are/were in an intimate/dating relationship with (including same sex
couples) or are related to by blood or marriage.
There are two basic types of Orders of Protections
from” – the tells the respondent that
they must refrain from alarming, harassing or annoying the petitioner;
this adds a distance clause, i.e.
500 feet to the order.
For more information about obtaining Orders of Protection:
Call our 24-Hour Hotline for
or visit us at the Family
Center: 280 Broadway,