Domestic abuse, also called “domestic violence” or “intimate partner violence” can be defined as a behavioral pattern used to gain and maintain control and power over an intimate partner. Abuse can be identified as physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, economic, and threats of actions that influence another person. This includes behaviors that frightens, intimates, terrorizes, hurts, blames, humiliates, and manipulates someone. Domestic abuse does not discriminate against race, sex, culture, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. It may happen to individuals living in co-habitation, married, or dating. It affects individuals of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Anyone can be a victim or perpetrator of domestic abuse. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if you are in a domestic abuse relationship:
Does your partner:
Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family?
Put down your accomplishments?
Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions?
Tell you that you are nothing without them?
Treat you roughly—grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you?
Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
Blame you for how they feel or act?
Pressure you sexually for things you aren’t ready for?
Make you feel like there is “no way out” of the relationship?
Prevent you from doing things you want – like spending time with friends or family?
Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere after a fight to “teach you a lesson”?
Sometimes feel scared of how your partner may behave?
Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior?
Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke up?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to some or most of these questions, help is at your fingertips. It takes courage to reach out and feel safe again. Professional support is a phone call away. Call the Domestic Violence hotline at 800-799-7233 or the Crisis hotline by texting 741741 (CONNECT) to get the help you deserve!