Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.
- One in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime.
- Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence
- On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.
Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.
Domestic violence can take many forms, including:
- Verbal/Emotional abuse - using words to put someone down or make them feel bad, threats, constant blame or criticism.
- Mild physical harm – pulling hair or twisting flesh
- Violent actions that leave marks – hitting, slapping, pushing, beating and throwing things
- Extreme violence using guns or knives
- Rape or sexual assault – being forces into sexual acts without your consent
Oftentimes, domestic violence begins with threats or emotional abuse. These harmful words or actions may lead to actual physical harm or leave long-term emotional scars.
While most domestic violence involves men assaulting women, it can also involve women assaulting their male or female partners or men assaulting their male partners.
Am I Being Abused?
It can be difficult to know if you or someone you know has been abused because victims may confuse their partner’s actions with a form of love or caring.
Does your partner:
- Embarrass you with put-downs?
- Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
- Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
- Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
- Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
- Make all of the decisions?
- Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
- Prevent you from working or attending school?
- Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it?
- Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
- Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
- Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?
- Force you to try and drop charges?
- Threaten to commit suicide?
- Threaten to kill you?
- Force you to have sex or made you do sexual things you did not want to do?
- Stalk, follow, or monitor you (this includes checking your daily movements, emails, phone calls, and texts)?
If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship.
Warning Signs In A Partner or Potential Partner
There are may not be one way to identify someone who is an abuser, however; there are few signs he/she may be display:
- Being overly jealous
- Having big mood swings
- Having an explosive temper
- Having low self-esteem
- Blaming you for their problems
- Using words to make you feel bad about yourself
- Trying to control you
- Keeping you away from family and friends