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Understanding Domestic Violence

A romantic relationship can end for a variety of reasons. A couple may no longer find themselves attracted to one another. They may relocate to different areas and have difficulty carrying on a long-distance relationship. Or, the relationship may end for more serious reasons. Those who are intimate may have a bitter fight or one partner may discover that the other is having an affair. In the worst case, a relationship might be brought to an end by domestic violence. Domestic violence is a serious matter that should be seen as immediate grounds for ending a any kind of relationship.

"Domestic violence" is generally defined as behavior that includes intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury, sexual assault, placing a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury, or to engage in any other behavior subject to being enjoined by operation of section 6320 of the California Family Code, and that is perpetrated against either a spouse, a former spouse, a cohabitant or former cohabitant, a person with whom the responding party (the aggressor) is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship, a person with whom the respondent shares a child, or a child. Put generally, we are talking about abuse or threats of abuse that a person receives from someone with whom he or she has or had a romantic relationship or a "live-in" relationship. This relationship may be current as in marriage or dating, or it can be in the past, as in an ex-spouse or ex-boyfriend. Regardless of when the relationship ended, domestic violence is considered to occur if one member of the relationship engaged in physical, verbal, emotional, or psychological abuse toward the other. Domestic violence is thus a very broad label that can mean anything from hitting the victim, to stalking the victim, to emotionally abusing the victim. A person who lacks visible scars may still be suffering from domestic violence.

If you are the victim of domestic violence or you know someone who is, do not hesitate to take action. Domestic violence is illegal under the law and legal action can be taken to ensure that you or someone you know does not continue to suffer. If you have any questions about domestic violence or if you feel you are now or have been the victim of domestic violence, contact the police and a lawyer.

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William A. Feinberg 1928 - 2001

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