The difference between domestic violence and domestic abuse
The two terms, domestic violence and domestic abuse are often used synonymously. And it is perfectly alright to do so, since both of these terms have grown to cover overlapping areas, as each of these terms have been defined more accurately by law, in order to make the laws more effective, and more inclusive of uncommon situations. There are, however, subtle differences between domestic abuse and domestic violence, even if they may exist for the sake of literary beautification. The terms domestic abuse and domestic violence might conjure up different images in your mind, precisely because the term “violence” immediately incites a more passionate, or rather, a more overt show of animosity or hatred.
Domestic abuse, on the other hand, can be more passive-aggressive, but it would still exist, and it is still a hugely abusive phenomenon which cannot be treated lightly. Domestic abuse can exist in subtle ways, through different mediums. Abuse can be inflicted upon a partner through indirect methods, which include emotional blackmail, mental pressure, financial control over the partner, and other such subversive acts which might not even be noticeable to the abused victim till it reaches a certain tipping point. Emotional blackmail is usually employed by insecure partners who try to control their loved ones by constantly using their emotions and playing up the weak spots. Mental pressure can be even more subtle, and depending on how skilled the partner is, the abused side of the equation can be kept under constant stress, tension and paranoia.
Financial pressure has become less stringent now, what with pre-nuptial agreements and financial independence of women on the rise. However, there are still a significant number of women who are completely dependent upon their husbands or partners for financial support, and it is then that things start to go downhill. The partner can withhold the finances, and thereby, restrict the woman’s independence in any way possible.
Domestic violence, on the other hand, has a more overt connotation to it. Physical and sexual violence falls under this category. Although the term also includes all the categories mentioned above, it is somehow, a much more forceful expression of domestic abuse. Domestic violence can be more discernible than domestic abuse, because it might be expressed more overtly. The subversiveness may or may not exist, and one important factor is that while domestic abuse may be an ongoing affair, domestic violence can also mean a one-time occurrence which might have been a case of self-defense as well. The lines, as we can see, are clearly blurry. Domestic violence as well as domestic abuse are overlapping terms which do not differ much, but in subtle ways, they can be exercised in very different ways.