Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to establish power and control over an intimate partner often leading to the threat or use of violence. Abuse is any controlling, hurtful act, word, or gesture that injures another’s body or emotions. Domestic violence is not a disagreement, a marital spat, or an anger management problem. There is no excuse for domestic violence.
You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:
- Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you.
- Does not trust you and acts jealous or possessive.Tries to isolate you from family or friends.
- Monitors where you go, who you call, and who you spend time with.
- Controls finances or refuses to share money.
- Expects you to ask permission.
- Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family, or your pets.
You may be in a physically abusive relationship if you partner has ever:
- Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors)
- Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked, or choked you.
- Abandoned you in a dangerous or familiar place.
- Used a weapon to threaten or hurt you.
- Forced you to leave your home. Kept you from leaving.
- Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
- Hurt your children.
If there is something about your relationship that scares you, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Someone is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to listen and provide information to help you get safe.
- Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs—avoid rooms with no exits (like the bathroom), or rooms with weapons (such as the kitchen).
- Think about and make a list of safe people to contact.
- Keep change with you at all times.
- Memorize all important numbers.
- Establish a “code word or sign” so that family, friends, teachers, or co-workers know when to call for help.
- Think about what you will say to your partner if he/she becomes violent.
- Remember you have the right to live without fear and violence.