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The US Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) defines domestic violence as a "pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner".The definition adds that domestic violence "can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender", and can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse.The study, which was based on interviews with 1,615 married or cohabiting couples and extrapolated nationally using census data, found that 21 percent of couples reported domestic violence.However, one of the report's authors, Renee Mc Donald, who was interviewed by The Washington Times cautioned, "We don't want to minimize [female-to-male violence], but on the other hand we don't want to forget the fact that men can be much more harmful to women." The National Institute of Justice contends that national surveys supported by NIJ, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics that examine more serious assaults do not support the conclusion of similar rates of male and female spousal assaults.Many scholarly studies of the problem have stated that is often part of a dynamic of control and oppression in relationships, regularly involving multiple forms of physical and non-physical abuse taking place concurrently.Intimate terrorism, an ongoing, complicated use of control, power and abuse in which one person tries to assert systematic control over another psychologically.

Women are more likely than men to be murdered by an intimate partner.shelters exist in many states as well as special hotlines for people to call for immediate assistance, with non-profit agencies trying to fight the stigma that people both face in reporting these issues.According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition, domestic violence is: "the inflicting of physical injury by one family or household member on another; also: a repeated or habitual pattern of such behavior." The term 'domestic violence' includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions.At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her.

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