Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Domestic violence can include physical, emotional, psychological, economic, and/or sexual abuse. Abusers use threats, intimidation, isolation, and other behaviors to gain and maintain power over their victims.
Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion. One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Domestic violence occurs in same-sex relationships, and men can be victims as well.
What are Some Signs of Domestic Violence?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, domestic violence may include:
- Physical abuse such as slapping, kicking, hitting, shoving, or other physical force.
- Sexual abuse including rape, sexual assault, forced prostitution, or interfering with birth control.
- Emotional abuse such as shouting, name-calling, humiliation, constant criticism, or harming the victim’s relationship with her or his children.
- Psychological abuse including threats to harm the victims’ family, friends, children, co-workers, or pets, isolation, mind games, destruction of victims’ property, or stalking.
- Economic abuse such as controlling the victim’s money, withholding money for basic needs, interfering with school or job, or damaging the victim’s credit.
Several or all of the above forms of violence and abuse may take place.
Sources: U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence against Women, What is Domestic Violence?
- Are You in an Abusive Relationship?
- Are you ever afraid of your partner?
- Does your partner threaten to hurt you?
- Does your partner control all the money?
- Has your partner ever pushed you or shoved you, thrown things at you, or forced you to have sex?
- Does your partner stalk you or show up uninvited at your job or when you’re out with friends?
If you said yes to one or more of these questions, you may be a victim of domestic violence. You are not alone, and help is available. The Shade Tree is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week.