What you need to know about Domestic Violence


logo 16 days activismWhat is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is also called intimate partner abuse. Domestic abuse can be broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviour by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, cohabitation, dating, within a family or among friends.

Forms of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can manifest itself in different forms:

Physical abuse includes hitting, slapping, throwing objects, using a knife or gun to threaten someone, pulling hair, punching with the fist, etc.

Sexual abuse includes forced sexual intercourse, being forced to watch or act out pornography, touching genitals by mouth, forcing sex by inserting a penis or an object into a vagina, forced prostitution, etc.

Emotional abuse includes threat of harm, humiliation in front of others, limiting movement outside a home, etc

Financial abuse includes being forced to hand over money, being prevented from earning an income, being forced to ask for money for basic needs, etc.

What causes domestic violence?

Domestic violence may start when one partner feels the need to control and dominate the other. Abusers may feel this need to control their partner because of various reasons — low self-esteem, extreme jealousy, difficulties in regulating anger and other strong emotions, or when they feel inferior to the other partner in terms of education and socio-economic background. Some men with very traditional beliefs may think they have the right to control women because women aren’t equal to men. Victims of domestic violence can develop depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies and feelings of helplessness.


You can take preventative measures to stop violence by applying for a protection order against the person abusing you. The Domestic Violence Act 116/1998 makes provision for a person who is being abused to apply to the Magistrate’s Court for a protection order. This is done on application and needs to be granted by a magistrate, if there is evidence supporting allegations of abuse. An order may be requested by anyone who is, or was, in a domestic relationship with the respondent (abusing party). An application for a protection order can be brought on behalf of the applicant by any other person with the applicant’s consent.



  1. I have lived with abuse for 5 years and escaped. NOT unscathed but have been able to keep it together for a year have tried to commit suicide, have tried to find a permanent job to no avail. I am recovering now and feel that I am getting my life back together but still struggling. Would like to help others in need as I understand the awful results of domestic violence. I hope this is a South African site as all the sites for domestic violence seem to be in the Us or Uk. In South Africa no one seems to care about domestic violence. We abused women just have to get on with it and deal with it with no help and there are many of us black & white, skin colour does not make a difference.Regards Diane

    • Dear Diane,
      Indeed this is a SA website and we have devoted the last months of 2010 to this cause. We will carry on with the message across the country. We have held meetings in Soweto, Cape Town and Durban and we will proceed to other provinces. Kindly feel free to write to us and your support is welcomed. If you want to send me an email, kindly use woman2woman@universalnews.co.za. Do not give up, do not feel guilty or blamed. Remember, whatever this abuse has already stolen from you, from your life, was over and enough so now do not allow it to keep of stealing your future. Marcia Pires

  2. Judy Witbooi on

    thank you Ms Marcia these are truelly the signs that everyone should be aware of to minimise or even eliminate violence from our live

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