Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that allows one person in the relationship to have power and control over the other person. For example:
- Verbal abuse: name calling, accusations, yelling, or humiliation.
- Abusing your trust: cheating on you, lying, or showing extreme jealousy.
- Minimizing, denying, or victim-blaming: hurting you and saying, “It wasn’t that bad;” not accepting the blame and saying, “You caused it.”
- Physical and sexual violence: hitting, choking, throwing objects, or forcing sexual acts against your will.
- Stalking, harassment, threats: following you or making you feel fearful or threatening to kill you, your family or friends.
Physical Abuse: May include hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, strangling, smothering, using or threatening to use weapons, shoving, destroying property, and/or hurting and denying medical treatment.
Sexual Abuse: May include physically forcing sex, forcing you to have sex with other partners, forcing you to participate in demeaning or degrading sexual acts including violence, name-calling, or denying contraception and/or protection from sexually transmitted infections.
Emotional Abuse: May include put-downs, criticism, name calling, acting superior, minimizing the abuse or blaming you for their behavior, threatening and making you feel fearful, isolating you from family and friends, excessive jealousy, accusing you of having affairs, or watching where you go and who you talk to.
Financial Abuse: May include giving you an allowance, not letting you have your own money, hiding family assets, running up debt, interfering with your job, or ruining your credit.
YOU CANNOT CONTROL YOUR PARTNER’S VIOLENCE. You CAN make choices about how to respond if violence occurs. Planning ahead can increase safety for you and your children. Here are some suggestions:
- Pack a bag with money, medication, important documents, car/house keys or ask a friend to keep it for you.
- Identify ways to both escape from your residence, and a safe place for you and your children when you leave.
- Get to a room with a window, door and a phone if your partner is becoming violent.
- Call the police if you are in danger or are being threatened.
- If you need a safe place to go, call our 24/7 hotline for shelter.
Early warning signs of abuse when your partner:
- Wants to move too quickly into the relationship, and doesn’t honor your boundaries.
- Is excessively jealous and accuses you of having affairs.
- Wants to know where you are at all times, and frequently calls, emails and texts you.
- Criticizes you or puts you down; most commonly tells you that you are “crazy,” “stupid,” and/or “fat,” or that no one would ever want or love you.
- Says one thing and does another.
- Takes no responsibility for their behavior and blames others.
- Blames the entire failure of previous relationships on their partner; for example, “My ex was a total bitch.”
- Grew up in an abusive or violent home.
- Has a history of violent behavior.
- Rages out of control and is impulsive.
- Insists that you stop spending time with your family or friends.
- Insists that you stop participating in leisure interests.
- Seems “too good to be true.”