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Domestic violence: No one knows what goes on behind closed doors

In movies made in the past, it was easy to spot the 'baddies' – they were always the ones wearing black hats. Many California residents who have endured domestic violence have wished that it was so simple in real life. Abusers often wear faces that, in public, seem charming and caring, yet behind closed doors they may be subjecting their victims to a range of behaviors that would be classed as domestic violence.

The statistics are disturbing, with one-third of women suffering physical abuse at the hands of intimate partners. For one-fifth of those victims, the physical damage is severe. This is usually what one thinks of when domestic violence or abuse is mentioned; however, men can also be victims, and sometimes it may be children who are physically assaulted. Additionally, there are many cases of abuse in which a finger is never laid on a victim, with the abuser instead relying on emotional manipulation or other non-physical measures.

Controlling behavior is a commonly used tactic. This may manifest as constant interrogation, when every detail of a spouse's day is examined in minute detail then turned against him or her. Mind games or gas-lighting are also examples of psychological abuse. It may extend further, such as with strict financial restrictions or denial of access to bank accounts. In the most extreme cases, an abuser may even commit fraud or identity theft using his or her victim's details.

Whatever form abuse takes, it is never the victim's fault, no matter what the abuser may say. It is important for any California resident caught in such a position to find a way to get herself – or himself – out of any immediate danger, along with ensuring the safety of any children who may be involved. Making an advance plan might be preferable, although when domestic violence is present this is not always possible. Whatever one's circumstances, it can be beneficial to seek advice and guidance from a legal professional in order to put legal protections in place.

Source: Forbes, "Domestic Violence And Divorce", Jeff Landers, Oct. 25, 2016

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