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WHAT IS ABUSE?

Domestic Violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over a partner in an intimate relationship.

Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. People of any race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, education level, or economic status can be a victim — or perpetrator — of domestic violence. That includes behaviors that physically harm, intimidate, manipulate or control a partner, or otherwise force them to behave in ways they don’t want to, including through physical violence, threats, emotional abuse, or financial control.

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

"Sexual violence" is an all-encompassing, non-legal term that refers to crimes like sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse. Please note that the legal definition of crimes vary from state to state. There are often other crimes and forms of violence that arise jointly with crimes like sexual assault.

Multiple forms of abuse are usually present at the same time in abusive situations, and it’s essential to understand how these behaviors interact so you know what to look for. Recognizing gaslighting, red flags, cycles of abuse, and sextortion are a few ways to educate yourself. When we know what the relationship looks like and means, we can then take steps to get help for ourselves as well as better support others who are experiencing abuse.

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COERCION & THREATS

Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt you. Threatening to leave, commit suicide or report you to authorities (child protective services or immigration). Making you drop charges or do illegal things. 

INTIMIDATION

Making you afraid by using looks, actions and/or gestures. Smashing things. Destroying property. Abusing pets. Displaying weapons.

USING PRIVILEGE

Treating you like a servant. Making all the "big" decisions. Being the one to define the roles or duties in the relationship. Using privilege or ability to discredit you. Cutting off access to resources or misusing the system against you. 

EMOTIONAL ABUSE

Putting you down. Making you feel bad about yourself. Calling you names. making you think you are crazy. Playing mind games. Humiliating you. Making you feel guilty. 

ECONOMIC ABUSE

Preventing you from getting or keepings a job. Making you ask for money. Giving you an allowance. Taking your money. Not letting you know about or have access to family income. 

USING CHILDREN

Making you feel guilty about the children. Using the children to relay messages. Using the visitations to harass you. Threatening to take away the children. 

 

MINIMIZING, DENYING & BLAMING

Making light of the abuse and/or not taking your concerns seriously. Saying the abuse did not happen. Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior. Saying you caused it. 

ISOLATION

Controlling what you do, who you see and talk to, what you read and where you go. Limiting your outside involvement. Using jealousy to justify actions. 

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