What is Domestic Abuse

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is a pattern of behavior that one person uses to control another person in an intimate relationship. It can happen to anyone, at any age, no matter what race or religion, level of education or economic background.

Domestic abuse can take many forms, all of which can be devastating to those who experience it. Domestic abuse includes:

Domestic abuse is a crime. Nobody deserves to be abused.

Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is a constant attack on a partner’s self esteem and can lead a partner to believe she is worthless and helpless to remove herself from the situation. People who are emotionally abused may experience stress related illnesses, anxiety attacks, heart palpitations, hyperventilation, ulcers and asthma.

An emotionally abusive intimate partner may:

  • Ridicule partner’s opinions and beliefs.
  • Criticize or call names.
  • Humiliate partner in public or private.
  • Threaten harm or suicide if the relationship ends.
  • Lie or play “mind games.”
  • Transfer blame (“if you wouldn’t ______, then I wouldn’t have to _______”).
  • Withhold access to family finances.
  • Destroy property.
  • Be cruel to animals
  • Social Isolation (when the abuser picks and chooses with whom the partner can interact)

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Physical Abuse
Physical abuse may begin as lesser forms of attacks, such as restraining by the arm, pinching, shoving or hair pulling. However, physical abuse often escalates and an abuser’s behaviors may become uncontrollable and more severe.

A physically abusive intimate partner may:

  • Push, shove or kick.
  • Slap, bite or choke.
  • Hit or punch.
  • Throw objects or destroy property.
  • Lock partner out of the home.
  • Refuse to get help when partner is ill or injured.
  • Use a weapon against partner.
  • Abandon partner in a dangerous situation.

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Sexual Abuse
When one partner views the other as sexual property, sexual abuse can occur.

A sexually abusive intimate partner may:

  • Be jealous; assume partner is promiscuous.
  • Force unwanted sexual acts on partner.
  • Insist that partner dresses in a sexual manner.
  • Commit painful or cruel acts against partner.
  • Constantly criticize partner sexually.

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