Pomona Community CC

Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse

Domestic violence (or Intimate Partner Violence, IPV) is where one partner exerts control over the other. They may use coercive practices, or physical, emotional or sexual threats to exert domination. Whatever their method their goal is the total control over the other. The situation is exacerbated when drugs or alcohol come into the equation.

Although it is not exclusively the case, the majority of this type of violence is performed by men against women and sometimes children. Women have a 5-8 times higher chance of being abused by an intimate partner. 85% of the victims of intimate partner crime are female, and most of the abuse takes place within the confines of the home.

Intimate partner violence takes place in all sorts of relationship. It is not limited to straight couples.

What is domestic violence?

Violence isn’t just physical. Gas lighting is a well-documented form of domestic abuse that involves no physical actions at all. The entire control tactic is via head-games and mental manipulation.

When drugs and alcohol become involved the probability of physical violence increases. The effect of drugs and drink is to remove the inhibitions which would normally prevent someone from hitting someone else.

Domestic Violence

It can start with pushing and hair pulling, and then as the victim responds with placating statements or even no verbal response at all, the violence can escalate out of control.

How common is the connection between IPV and substance abuse?

Substance abuse has been identified as being a factor in IPV in 40-60% of cases. While this is depressing enough, it is the other side of this coin which is the most distressing.

Spousal abuse has been identified as a predictor of developing substance abuse or addiction. It darkens even further. The abused victim is often coerced into a relationship with alcohol or drug abuse by their partners. Without the partner, the spouse would not have developed their own substance abuse problem.

But, why…?

The reasons why someone abuses their partner vary. They may feel they are entitled to be the head of the household, they might have witnessed the conduct in their own upbringing. With men especially, they might have had the gender role described to them verbally or through actions. Aggressive sports behavior which encourages testosterone fueled actions might also be another factor.

Domestic Violence

Why these patterns start in one particular case could be any trigger. Misogynism is casually common. Try telling a man he is mansplaining.

Drugs and alcohol make it worse

When someone is intoxicated or under the influence they not only lose their inhibitions but there is also a sense of distortion between acceptable and not acceptable behavior. They may not lose the ability to discern right from wrong, but they may lose the sense to stop their actions crossing the line with disastrous consequences.

As the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence points out 20 people per minute are physically abused. At 85% of the population that’s more than 24,000 women since this time yesterday.