If you are experiencing domestic violence, it’s not your fault. You don’t deserve to be abused. There is help.
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior characterized by the domination and control of one person over another, usually an intimate partner, through physical, psychological, emotional, verbal, sexual, and/or economic abuse.What is Domestic Violence?
Hitting, slapping, kicking, choking, pushing, punching, beating.
Constant criticism, mocking, making humiliating remarks, yelling, swearing, name-calling, interrupting.
Forcing sex, demanding sexual acts, degrading treatment.
Making it hard to see friends and relatives, monitoring phone calls, reading mail, texts, or messages, controlling daily activities, taking car keys, destroying passports or documents
Causing guilt, sulking, manipulating children and family members, always insisting on being right, making up impossible “rules.”
Watching of following, repeated threatening calls or unwanted messages, monitoring your social networking, posting unwanted photos or videos of you online, sending unwanted gifts, breaking into your home or destroying your property, using cameras in your home or spyware on your computer or phone.
Not paying bills, refusing to give money, not allowing you to go to school or work, not allowing you to learn a new job skill, refusing to work and support the family.
Lying, breaking promises, withholding important information, being unfaithful, being jealous, not sharing domestic responsibilities.
Threats and Intimidation:
Threats to harm others, threats to harm pets, using physical size to intimidate, shouting, keeping weapons and threatening to use them.
Not expressing feelings, not giving compliments, not paying attention, not respecting feelings, rights, opinions, and concerns.
Destruction of Property:
Destroying furniture, punching walls, throwing or breaking things, abusing pets.
Abusing drugs or alcohol, threatening self-harm or suicide, driving recklessly, causing trouble.
Who are the Victims?
Anyone can be a victim. Studies have found no characteristic link between personality type and experiencing domestic violence. Abuse cannot be stopped by changing how the person experiencing domestic violence behaves. Everyone deserves to be safe from domestic violence.
- Women are at high risk for being seriously injured or killed by a partner.
- Pregnant and post-partum women are especially at risk.
- Teen girls and young women are at high risk for dating violence.
- They may be abused themselves.
- They may see their parent being abused.
- The abuser may threaten to harm the children.
- They grow up seeing abuse as normal.
Teens and young adults
- Teenagers are just as vulnerable to relationship violence and it is just as dangerous.
- Teenagers may not seek help because they distrust adults.
People in LGBTQ relationships
- People in LGBTQ relationships experience domestic violence at about the same rates as straight women.
- People in LGBTQ relationships may not seek help because they don’t believe that help is available or because they fear discrimination.
Older adults and people with disabilities
- They may be abused by their spouses or partners, adult children, or caretakers.
- They may be physically unable to defend themselves or escape from the abuse.
- They may be physically or mentally unable to report the abuse to anyone.
- Men and women who have disabilities are at high risk for abuse.
Who are the Abusers?
Abusers are not “out of control.”
- Abusers choose how to respond to a situation. They decide to behave in a violent manner.
- They are not acting purely out of anger.
- They are not only reacting to stress.
- They are not helplessly under the control of drugs and alcohol.
Abuse is learned:
- It is not “natural.”
- It is not “normal.”
- It is learned, sometimes from the home where the abuser grew up.
- Say they are sorry and act loving.
- Be hard workers and good providers.
- Be witty, charming, attractive, and intelligent.
- At times, be loving parents.
The Impact of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is often traumatizing. The word “trauma” is used to describe painful or disrupting experiences that overwhelm someone’s ability to deal with certain situations or everyday life.
Survivors of trauma, including domestic violence, may go into “survival mode,” which creates three options:
- FIGHT: You may feel angry about what your partner did to you.
- FLIGHT: You may feel anxious or fearful about what has happened and what might happen.
- FREEZE: You may feel emotionally numb, unable to express yourself, or stuck.
All of these reactions to trauma are normal, common, and understandable. Something bad and scary happened to you. REMEMBER: You did not cause this to happen.
The Power and Control Wheel
The Power and Control Wheel links the different behaviors that together form a pattern of violence. It shows how each behavior is an important part of the overall effort to control someone.
All forms of abuse, including emotional and verbal, are serious and harmful. Survivors may experience one or more forms of abuse.
The Equality Wheel
The Equality Wheel offers a view of a healthy relationship that is based on equality and nonviolence. Use this chart to compare the characteristics of a non-violent relationship to those of an abusive relationship in the Power and Control Wheel.