Two recent murders in American Fork stemming from domestic violence have made many community members reassess what they know about not only domestic violence, but services available here in northern Utah County.
Domestic abuse is a crime that is widely underreported for a number of reasons. Many victims don’t report these crimes because they fear revenge or further violence, they have feelings of shame or embarrassment, or they believe that the incident was trivial or unimportant.
Some studies show that 1 out of 4 women will experience domestic violence at some time in their lives. Although we usually believe women are the victims of domestic abuse, there are at least 3 million men who are victims of domestic abuse in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.
According to the Utah Department of Child and Family Services there are several types of domestic abuse and it is important to understand behaviors that are considered abusive. They include:
- Intimidation- The abuser frightens the victim with looks, gestures, actions, destruction of property or pets, or use of weapons.
- Emotional Abuse- The abuser makes the victim feel guilty, calls the victim names, embarrasses, humiliates, or demeans the victim, plays mind games, and tells the victim they are crazy.
- Isolation- keeps the victim from going places or visiting with people that they enjoy, listens to phone conversations or opens mail, follows victim using jealousy to justify actions.
- Minimizing, Denying and Blaming- The abuser makes light of abuse, says abuse didn’t happen, or says the abuse was the victim’s fault.
- Excessive Domination- The abuser acts like a master and treats the victim like a servant, makes big decisions, defines the victim’s role, and patronizes the victim like a child.
- Economic Abuse- The abuser prevents the victim from working outside the home, makes the victim ask for money, makes the victim account for every expenditure, and does not allow the victim information about family finances.
- Using Children- The abuser makes the victim feel guilty about parenting skills and abilities and responsible for children’s misbehavior or mistakes. May undermine the victim’s authority with children through criticism or implying that the victim is stupid. May threaten to take the children away or kill them or might tell the victim that DCFS will take the children away.
- Coercion and Threats- The abuser may threaten to take the children, destroy property, harm family or friends, leave the victim, or commit suicide. May make physical threats and actions toward the victim.
- Physical Violence- The abuser rapes, slaps, punches, bites, chokes, pulls hair, or burns the victim.
If you or someone you care about is a victim of domestic abuse, there are many resources available to help. The following local organizations are a good start for people seeking assistance.
For immediate help call 911.
Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline: (801)377-5500
Rape Crisis 24 Hour Hotline: (801)356-2511 or (888)421-1100
Utah County Crisis Line (801)691-5433
Protection Orders (4th District) (801)429-1155