There is no single characteristic that make it possible to identify an abusive individual. Perpetrators of domestic violence are not violent to everyone; they are only violent and abusive to a select few individuals very close to them.
Often times, perpetrators present themselves very differently to the outside world than they do within their own home. Perpetrators can be very charming and well liked by family and friends, and they may even hold a position of social standing within their community. Their behavior may change completely when they are home and around their victimized individual. As perpetrators often present a very different front to the public, the individual they victimize may feel it would be difficult to find someone who would believe them about the abuse in their home.
Domestic violence does not discriminate by socioeconomic status, ethnicity or educational level. Anyone can be a perpetrator of domestic violence and anyone can be victimized. It can happen in any type of relationship and any type of home. The misconception that domestic violence most commonly occurs within lower class or minority communities is often prevalent because these are the individuals that public agencies most commonly work with. When domestic violence occurs within more affluent households, help is more likely to be sought from doctors, lawyers, counselors or other private organizations that do not release statistics about their clients.
Women can be perpetrators of relationsl violence and men can be the individual they victimize. Female perpetrators may slap, kick, bite, hit or throw something at their male partner. They may also use verbal & psychological abuse. Men who have been victimized by a female perpetrator often recognize that there is a stigma in reporting the violence. They may stay silent about the perpetrator's abuse becuase of many of the common beliefs in our society, which espouses the notions that men are supposed to protect women and can't get pushed around by them. Many people in our society also believe that men should be able to "handle" their woman, and so have difficulty imagining a woman being a perpetrator of domestic violence.
Female perpetrators often use intimidation tactics to control their male partner. They may threaten to hurt themselves, their partner or even their children if their partner does not comply with their wishes. They may destroy the male partner's property, including their clothing and their keepsakes.
Women are also more likely to use a weapon against their partner than a male perpetrator. In 2011, Statistics Canada found that female perpetrators were twice as likely as males to rely on weapons. They suggested that this trend can be explained because the male partner often has more physical strength than the female perpetrator. Stalking and harassment are also abusive tactics that female perpetrators may employ against their male partner.
Individuals who are being abused by a perpetrator are not masochistic. No one asks for or deserves to be abused by someone they love. There are many reasons why individuals stay with a perpetrator: fear, financial dependence, shame, guilt, cultural values or religious values.
The effects of domestic violence run deep, and individuals do not easily move on from the abuse they endured from a perpetrator. Both children and adults who have been involved in a domestic violence incident may suffer from long-term consequences.
Children may suffer from depression or anxiety after witnessing or suffering from violence and abuse within the home, and research has indicated that children who have witnessed domestic violence are at high risk of suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Like children, adults who have been victimized by a perpetrator may suffer from chronic depression or anxiety for years after the abuse has ended. They may have medical difficulties as they grow older that stem from the physical injuries they received at the hand of their perpetrator.
As some adults will use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism during the abuse, they may suffer from long-term drug or alcohol dependencies. Others may continue to inflict injuries on themselves as a coping mechanism.
Poverty is also a long-term effect of domestic violence and a perpetrator's victimized individual may lose family and friends as a result of their actions. They may even have difficulty caring for their children and providing them with the things they need. In the very worst cases, domestic violence can result in death. In 2011, Statistics Canada found that 89 individuals - 76 females and 13 males - were killed by an intimate partner.