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What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is any aggressive behavior or pattern of systematic power and manipulation perpetrated by one partner to another. It can take form in several ways, such as physical or sexual violence, or technological, emotional, verbal, and even financial abuse. It’s not always easy to detect because of its many shapes, but it’s important to learn the warning signs, take preventative measures, and spread awareness on the subject’s urgency.

The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an annual campaign to promote a unified effort among domestic violence advocates and organizations, as well as to raise awareness of the issues surrounding domestic violence. Over the past 30 years, much progress has been made to support domestic violence victims and survivors, hold abusers accountable, and create and update legislation to further those goals.

Every year there are over one million victims of domestic violence in America. The following statistics compiled by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence illustrate some of the most important aspects of this issue:

  • Domestic violence is one of the most underreported crimes in America today and in the Jewish community. In fact, only about half of all domestic violence incidents are ever reported to police.
  • The majority of victims are women (90 percent), but men can be victims too—and often face shame or stigma when talking about it publicly or seeking help from law enforcement.
  • Children who witness domestic abuse are at risk for developing emotional problems such as anxiety or depression later in life; they may also suffer from poor physical health if they are exposed too frequently or over long periods of time.
  • Women between the ages of 18 and 24 experience the highest rates of domestic violence.
  • About 1 in 12 teens experience domestic violence, with those who identify as women and/or LGBTQ+ having the highest risk.

Warning Signs of Domestic Violence

Because domestic violence and domestic abuse are unfortunately so common, it’s crucial to learn and understand signs. Here is a list of some warning signs and red flags that might indicate an abuser:

  • Pressuring you to participate in sexual acts without your consent 
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
  • Extreme jealousy or anger 
  • Extending their power over you through the control finances without your knowledge or discussion
  • Intimidating you with guns, knives, bats, etc.
  • Insulting or shaming you, especially in front of others 

If you’d like to read more about relationship red flags, check out this article here. 


About JFCS Pittsburgh Youth Services

Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) Pittsburgh is committed to supporting youth and young adults achieve their goals and secure a strong future. For more information about education, workforce development, and mental health support services available, please call JFCS Youth Services at (412) 422-7200 or visit www.jfcspgh.org/youth-services.