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What is Domestic Violence?

It is not unusual to think of physical abuse when someone brings up domestic violence, but we know that domestic violence is much more than just physical abuse and that many victims have never been hit by their partner.

Domestic violence is when one person in a relationship uses abuse to get power and control over their partner. It can include emotional, sexual and economic abuse, threats and intimidation, and isolation from friends and family.

Graphic: Power and Control Wheel

If you are concerned about your relationship, the following list of questions may help you know if you are being abused.

Does your partnerů

Hurt your feelings or make you very sad?

  • Call you names, yell or put you down?
  • Become very jealous?
  • Keep you away from your friends and family?
  • Keep you from going where you want to? When you want to? Need to know where you are and who you are with all of the time?

Control the money?

  • Make you tell him/her what money you spent? Take money?
  • Not let you see bank accounts or have money?
  • Stop you from getting and keeping a job? Stop you from going to school?

Scare you?

  • Get really angry to get you to do what s/he wants you to do?
  • Show you weapon to make you afraid?
  • Make you afraid by the way s/he looks at you or by something s/he says to you?
  • Say s/he will hurt the children or take the children away from you? Say that s/he will call the police, the courts or Child Protective Services for something you did not do?

Hurt your body or your things?

  • Hurt you, your children, pets, family members and/or friends?
  • Threaten to hurt them selves if you will not do what s/he wants?
  • Break things or throw things around?
  • Make you have sex when you don't want to?
  • Grab, push, hit, punch, kick, choke or bite you?
  • Not let you eat or sleep?

These are some of the common things that abusers do to try and control the person they are in a relationship with. If your partner is doing things that hurt or scare you, you are not alone. There are people who can help you be safe.

No one has the right to hurt, scare or abuse you. You have a right to be safe.


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