What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence refers to a pattern of physical violence or sexual violence occurring within a domestic or family relationship committed by an intimate current or former partner. Generally domestic violence is seen in male/female or same sex partner relationships.
Domestic violence takes many forms. The most recognized form of domestic violence is physical violence which may include hitting, punching, slapping, strangling, kicking and so on.

The physical forms of domestic violence include sexual violence such as attacking a woman’s breasts or genitals as well as raping her.

Domestic violence also includes a range of other actions intended to control.

These tactics include unnatural forms of power and control:

isolation, intimidation, using children, emotional abuse, economic abuse, coercion and threats, minimizing, denying and blaming, cultural abuse, ritual abuse, male privilege and sexual abuse.

It is important we examine our past and know where we were, understand how we got to be where we are today, and celebrate that the solutions to the problems of today can be found in our Traditions.
Karen Artichoker
Are you in an abusive relationship?

Does your partner
— Physically hurt you? Push, hit, slap, kick, bite, choke, or punch you?
— Hurt your pets?
— Threaten to harm you or a loved one to get you to do something?
— Make you feel afraid by using looks or actions or destroy property to get you to do something?
— Verbally attack you, put you down, or regularly insult you?
— Control what you do or who you see or talk to?
— Blame the violence on you?
— Take your money? Prevent you from working?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, you might be in an abusive relationship!
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Myth: She (the abused woman) could leave anytime.
“If it were me, I would have left him a long time ago.” “Why does she stay when she is being battered?”
If you have probably heard one of these statements at least a few times or maybe you have even said one of them before. Actually, battered women do not have the luxury of being able to simply walk away from living with domestic violence.

The risk of getting killed rises significantly when a woman decides to leave an abusive relationship or actually leaves. Women talk about considering the known vs. unknown, understanding the predictability of living with the violence and are fearful of what it might mean to try to leave. Women may believe there will be either another violent attack or they may be killed when they try to leave.

Leaving the relationship often means she (and her children) would have to leave her community. This could mean having to leave their village, pueblo, or reservation, the very place where she grew up, the place she calls home and draws her greatest support and identity from. Leaving requires resources to support herself (and her children). Being able to have food, shelter, clothing, transportation and money become barriers. Domestic Violence shelters provide some of these basic needs, however, the solutions are only temporary.

The emotional aspects of battering run very deep. Many survivors of domestic violence talk about the emotional and psychological battering that takes place and how difficult it is to heal from. Overtime, the abuse takes an enormous amount of energy. Women talk about being exhausted from the battering with little energy to care for themselves or their children. They talk about their own loss of self, how it becomes increasingly more difficult to make decisions, imagine their future and plan their days.

In addition, some women want to believe that when he says he will never do it again, he means it.
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