Understanding Abuse and its Nuances

Let’s review some terms, yeah?

Domestic Violence (DV)

That word “violence” packs a punch. Many assume violence MUST be physical, but that’s just not so. Violence can happen around you as much as it can happen to you, and it’s not always about kicks and slaps, but also refers to anything that hurts you emotionally and psychologically.

Abuse takes on so many forms beyond what is physical. In fact, it’s the other abuses — emotional, sexual, spiritual, financial — which lay deeper wounds and take much longer to learn about and heal from.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is any abuse that happens in a home setting, which means it affects a woman’s kids as much as she herself is affected. It even applies to Grandma if she lives in the same house.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

This refers specifically to romantic relationships which are touched by abuse, and it is present in teen dating as much as it is adult partnerships.

Whether in reference to domestic or intimate partner dynamics, the terms “violence” and “abuse” can be used interchangeably.


Sometimes folks seem to believe a woman can’t call herself a “survivor” unless she saved her literal life from death by leaving physical violence. But ANY woman who leaves ANY kind of abuse is a survivor.

Hot Take: The only difference between a victim mentality and a survivor mentality is how you think of yourself.

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