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Instead, physicians often looked for undiagnosed bone diseases or accepted parents' accounts of accidental mishaps such as falls or assaults by neighborhood bullies.

Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, battery), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation.

The dynamics of physical abuse in a relationship are often complex.

Domestic murders include stoning, bride burning, honor killings, and dowry deaths.

Globally, the victims of domestic violence are overwhelmingly women, and women tend to experience more severe forms of violence.

Very few people recognize themselves as abusers or victims because they may consider their experiences as family disputes that just got out of control.

In abusive relationships, there may be a cycle of abuse during which tensions rise and an act of violence is committed, followed by a period of reconciliation and calm.

Domestic violence occurs when the abuser believes that abuse is acceptable, justified, or unlikely to be reported.

It may produce intergenerational cycles of abuse in children and other family members, who may feel that such violence is acceptable or condoned.For example, in Ancient Rome, a father could legally kill his children.Many cultures have allowed fathers to sell their children into slavery. Child maltreatment began to garner mainstream attention with the publication of "The Battered Child Syndrome" by pediatric psychiatrist C. Prior to this, injuries to children—even repeated bone fractures—were not commonly recognized as the results of intentional trauma.Victims may experience psychological problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.Children who live in a household with violence often show psychological problems from an early age, such as dysregulated aggression which may later contribute to continuing the legacy of abuse when they reach adulthood.In some countries, domestic violence is often seen as justified, particularly in cases of actual or suspected infidelity on the part of the woman, and is legally permitted.

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