What is domestic violence

The term domestic violence includes many forms of violence: When talking about domestic violence, it can mean physical violence, sexualized violence, psychological violence, social or economic violence.

Domestic violence can take very different forms: in addition to pushing, kicking or hitting, constant devaluation, humiliation or confinement, but also control and isolation are forms of domestic violence.

This term includes violence against children as well as violence against e.g., trans* people. Moreover, the violence does not necessarily have to take place at home. Rather, the term means that the violence comes from people who are actually close to us – i.e., from partners, but also from friends, acquaintances or parents.

People who are affected by racism or discriminated against because of a disability are additionally oppressed by domestic violence and at the same time are more frequently affected by domestic violence. This intersectional understanding of discrimination is important in the fight against domestic violence.

Gender roles, privileges and stereotypical assumptions in our society reinforce domestic violence. It is not a private matter, but a social, structural problem. Therefore, it is also understood as a violation of human rights and it is also the task of the state to fight against it.

Der Begriff häusliche Gewalt schließt viele Formen von Gewalt mit ein: Wird von häuslicher Gewalt gesprochen, so kann damit körperliche Gewalt, sexualisierte Gewalt, psychische Gewalt, soziale oder ökonomische Gewalt gemeint sein.

Häusliche Gewalt kann ganz unterschiedlich aussehen: neben Schubsen, Treten oder Schlagen sind auch ständige Abwertung, Demütigung oder Einschüchterung, aber auch Kontrolle und Isolation Formen häuslicher Gewalt sein.

Dieser Gewaltbegriff schließt sowohl Gewalt an Kindern als auch Gewalt gegenüber z.B. trans* Personen ein. Außerdem muss die Gewalt nicht unbedingt zu Hause stattfinden. Vielmehr meint der Begriff, dass die Gewalt von Menschen ausgeht, die uns eigentlich nahestehen – also von Partner*innen, aber auch von Freunden, Bekannten oder Eltern.

Menschen, die von Rassismus betroffen sind oder aufgrund von einer Behinderung diskriminiert werden, werden durch häusliche Gewalt zusätzlich unterdrückt. Dieses intersektionale Verständnis von Diskriminierung ist wichtig im Kampf gegen häusliche Gewalt.

Geschlechterrollen, Privilegien und stereotype Vorannahmen in unserer Gesellschaft verstärken häusliche Gewalt. Es ist keine Privatsache, sondern ein gesellschaftliches, strukturelles Problem. Daher wird es auch als Menschenrechtsverletzung verstanden und es ist auch Aufgabe des Staates, dagegen anzukämpfen. 

Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, 1983, modifizierte Darstellung durch CORA 2017 

Slaps, punches, kicks, choking, abuse with objects, burns, gunshot wounds, knife wounds…

Destruction of self-esteem, threats (e.g. with death, with abduction of children, with suicide), blackmail, psychological terror, constant control, stalk, persecution, denial of recognition, insult, humiliation, “crazy”;, withdrawal/withdrawal of love (until the desired behavior is achieved)

any violation of the sexual self-determination, even within partnerships, includes sexualized, condescending and humiliating comments, forcing sexual acts (intimate touching, kissing, etc.) or certain sexual practices, as well as rape

Isolation, control of external contacts, contact bans, confinement, Prohibition of employment, threat of violence by other family members and friends, targeted violence against pets as a means of blackmail and intimidation.

Reasons for the violence are not sought by the offender in themselves, but in externalcircumstances (e.g. alcohol consumption, difficulties at work) or the partner (“they provoked me”) the fault of the others.

Threat of violence against children and other family members, taking children hostage, using children as messengers in the event of separation/divorce and to establish contact with the ex-partner

Exploiting privileges:
Increase dependence on the partner; exploit one’s own advantages, existing inequalities, better position/status (disability, Residence status, woman-man, state of health, care situation…)

Deprivation of income or maintenance, sole access and control of the offender over joint income, accumulating debts and passing them on to others

The decisive factor here is the structural power imbalance: that is, due to their social position, a person is able to act unilaterally dominant and to set both the rules for the relationship and everydaylife.

The consideration and identification of the power imbalance raises the topic from an individual level to a level of society as a whole. It is no longer just a matter of two individuals arguing, but of the fact that in this conflict or generally in the relationship to each other, a person has (structurally) more power – power that arises from gender roles, privileges and stereotypical assumptions as well as social position.

Since domestic violence is therefore astructural problem/phenomenon, it is also understood as a violation of human rights. Thus, the fight against domestic violence is not a private matter, but also a task of the state.