Identifying Abuse is the First Step Towards Freedom

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So, What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence, also known and used interchangeably as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) can be defined as, “a pattern of behaviours used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship” (source:

It is a form of gender-based violence (GBV) and is caused by a current or former intimate partner or spouse. Family violence is relative to domestic violence, however, family violence involves abuse occurring between any members of a family such as between parent and child, siblings, grandparent and grandchild etc.

Who is at Risk of Domestic Violence?

Anyone can be a victim of intimate partner violence. Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate between race, gender, religion, socio-economic status, age, sexuality or education.

Perpetrators come from all walks of life and don’t belong to a certain “class”. However, women account for the vast majority of people who experience this form of gender-based violence and the abuse is often perpetrated by men (World Health Organization. 2012. Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence).

who is at risk of domestic violence, women.
Photo by Gemma Chua-Tran

Nobody is exempt from experiencing domestic violence.

Domestic violence creates immediate and/or long-lasting social, health and economic consequences.

But, Can a Christian Experience Domestic Violence?


A Christian woman can experience intimate partner violence, whether her husband is a believer or not.

In the church, abusive relationships are not exposed or discussed as much as they should be. Christian women often suffer in silence, are unsure who they can trust, and are uncertain where they can turn to for help.

Unfortunately, church leadership is often ill-equipped to support victims of domestic violence, no matter how well-intentioned they are.

What Does Domestic Violence Look Like?

Domestic abuse is found in multiple forms including:

  • Physical abuse
  • Mental abuse
  • Emotional abuse and Intimidation
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Spiritual abuse
  • Verbal abuse and Threats
  • Abandonment
  • Neglect
  • Stalking

It is common to experience multiple forms of abuse, at the same time, in a relationship where there is domestic violence. It is important to understand the Types of Domestic Violence and to know what to look for. 

To read more about what domestic violence looks like, check out our blog post here.