You probably know what physical abuse is. You can piece together what psychological abuse entails. You know perpetrator and victim, nay, survivor. You’ve watched enough Law and Order—or have unfortunately experienced the real-life version—to know who the defendant, plaintiff and district attorney are. But the glossary of terms associated with domestic violence is far longer. Learning their meanings means knowing how to spot them and, hopefully, how to prevent them. Quiz yourself on the seven terms below.
A. Being the victim of more than one traumatic event or situation.
B. The act of assaulting more than one victim at the same time.
C. Being both a victim and perpetrator of violence.
2. Grey Rape
A. Sexual abuse that occurs within a marriage.
B. Sexual assault of an elderly individual.
C. An excuse rapists use to defend an assault they say a victim may have consented to.
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A. A pattern of psychological abuse that makes survivors question their reality.
B. An abuse tactic that involves keeping a survivor in seclusion.
C. A form of violence that centers on asphyxiation.
4. Survival Sex
A. Resigning to sexual abuse in order to avoid further violence.
B. Another term for sex involved with human trafficking, prostitution or pornography.
C. A phrase coined by homeless youth who use sex in exchange for basic needs like food and shelter.
A. An aggressive form of stalking.
B. When a male partner removes a condom before or during sex without his partner’s permission.
C. Repeatedly violating an order of protection.
6. Childhood Domestic Violence or CDV
A. Another term for child abuse.
B. Growing up in a home with domestic violence.
C. When children are violent toward each other in the same home.
7. Coercive Control
A. An ongoing pattern of often psychological abuse meant to control a survivor.
B. The act of manipulating someone to commit crimes against their will.
C. A type of abuse that forces a victim to practice a religion they did not choose.
1. Correct answer: A. Polyvictimization means that someone has endured multiple traumatic situations. They could be a survivor of physical abuse as well as sexual abuse, or bullying as well as childhood domestic violence. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, there is a high incidence of polyvictimization among runaway and homeless youth.
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2. Correct answer: C. Grey rape is a “B.S. term” say some experts, an excuse that perpetrators may use to imply consent was up in the air when a sexual assault occurred. This could include sex when one or both parties were drunk or blaming a sexual assault on a victim because of what she was wearing or the way she was flirting, or attesting that you cannot be raped when you’re married (which is false). This basically boils down to victim-shaming someone who did not consent to a sexual act.
3. Correct answer: A. Gaslighting is a term that describes an abusive partner repeatedly manipulating a survivor’s memories of a certain situation for the abuser’s advantage. An abuser may convince a survivor that the abuse she remembers didn’t actually happen or wasn’t nearly as serious as she thinks it was. This type of psychological abuse can make a survivor feel like she’s going crazy. After a while, a survivor might start to doubt her own perception of reality; she may lose her identity in the relationship and it can make escaping the cycle of abuse all that more difficult.
4. Correct answer: C. Survival Sex is a term used by the runaway and homeless youth community to describe sex—sometimes consensual and sometimes not—that is performed in order to receive basic survival needs like food, clothing, shelter, protection or money for other essential items. Studies have found more than 28 percent of homeless youth have participated in survival sex.
5. Correct answer: B. Though this insidious act—removing the condom before or during sex without a partner consenting—has been around for as long as any other abusive tactic, the label is fairly new. And since the term stealthing came to light, advocates and lawmakers have been working to update legislation accordingly. Alexander Brodskey of Yale Law School published a paper in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law last April calling stealthing “rape-adjacent,” and arguing that a law was needed against it to “provide victims with a more viable cause of action.”
6. Correct answer: B. A conservative estimate from UNICEF’s study, The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children, is that 275 million children worldwide are witness to violence in their home. CDV describes growing up as a witness to domestic violence, the after-effects of which can include a negative rewiring of a developing brain, an increased risk of suicide and a skewed belief system that can result in low self-esteem, anxiety and guilt as an adult.
7. Correct answer: A. Coercive control is about domination. Abusers use a range of abusive tactics—usually some combination of isolation, degradation, micromanagement, manipulation, stalking, physical abuse, sexual coercion, threats and punishment—in order to take away a survivor’s freedom and completely control them. It’s a form of domestic abuse that doesn’t always leave physical markings, but can be just as damaging and difficult to escape from.
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