What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors in the context of an intimate relationship. Abusive behaviors are used by one individual to control or exert power over another individual. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. Over time the abusive behavior will become more frequent and escalate. Whether emotional or physical, both and all forms of abuse can be devastating.


Types of Domestic Violence

Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of
physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.

Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.

Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.

Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money, or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.

Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include  - but are not limited to - causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner's family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

Stalking: A pattern of repeated, unwanted, attention and contact that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone else (e.g., family member or friend). Some examples include repeated, unwanted phone calls, emails, or texts; leaving cards, letters, flowers, or other items when the victim does not want them; watching or following from a distance; spying; approaching or showing up in places when the victim does not want to see them; sneaking into the victim’s home or car; damaging the victim’s personal property; harming or threatening the victim’s pet; and making threats to physically harm the victim.


(source: national Coalition against domestic violence)


What Does Abuse Include?

Abuse may begin with behaviors that may be easily dismissed such as possessiveness, threats or distrust. Abusers will minimize the behavior and/or try to convince the person being abused that the abusive behavior is done out of love. Love does not hurt or consist of someone trying to control. As the abusive behavior intensifies, the abuser will apologize, make promises to discontinue the abuse or get help. Some of the signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who:

  • Telling the victim that they can never do anything right
  •  Showing jealousy of the victim’s family and friends and time spent away
  •  Accusing the victim of cheating
  •  Keeping or discouraging the victim from seeing friends or family members
  • Embarrassing or shaming the victim with put-downs
  •  Controlling every penny spent in the household
  •  Taking the victim’s money or refusing to give them money for expenses
  •  Looking at or acting in ways that scare the person they are abusing
  • Controlling who the victim sees, where they go, or what they do
  • Dictating how the victim dresses, wears their hair, etc.
  •  Stalking the victim or monitoring their victim’s every move (in person or also via the internet and/or other devices such as GPS tracking or the victim’s phone)
  •  Preventing the victim from making their own decisions
  • Telling the victim that they are a bad parent or threatening to hurt, kill, or take away their children
  •  Threatening to hurt or kill the victim’s friends, loved ones, or pets
  •  Intimidating the victim with guns, knives, or other weapons
  •  Pressuring the victim to have sex when they don’t want to or to do things sexually they are not comfortable with
  •  Forcing sex with others
  •  Refusing to use protection when having sex or sabotaging birth control
  •  Pressuring or forcing the victim to use drugs or alcohol
  •  Preventing the victim from working or attending school, harassing the victim at either, keeping their victim up all night so they perform badly at their job or in school
  •  Destroying the victim’s property


Developing a Safety Plan


At Transitions Family Violence Services, we are always concerned about the safety of individuals who are experiencing abuse. We understand that the person being abused understands their relationship and should decide what safety options are best for them. Our advocates are available to assess risk and develop a personalized safety plan for the following circumstances:

  • If deciding to leave an abusive relationship
  • Increase safety while staying in an abusive relationship
  • Maintain safety after leaving an abusive relationship

A safety plan does not guarantee safety, however can outline your options and help you protect yourself during stressful moments.

For more information or assistance, contact us at 757.723.7774.