Abuse happens in every culture, age, race, nationality and socio-economic level. It happens in both heterosexual and LGBT relationships, and among family members.
- Are you frightened by your partner’s temper?
- Are you afraid to disagree?
- Do you have to justify everything you do, every place you go or every person you see to avoid someone’s anger?
- Does your partner put you down and then tell you that he or she loves you?
- Do you stay away from friends or family because your partner will be jealous?
- Have you been forced into having sex when you didn’t want to?
- Are you afraid to break up because others have threatened to hurt you or themselves?
- Does your partner hurt you?
- Do you feel intimidated or controlled by your partner’s or your own extended family?
- Does someone withhold medication that you need to stay healthy?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might be suffering abuse.
Click here to see a list of warning signs (PDF).
Domestic violence can take many forms...
- Psychological or emotional abuse (threats, insults, and put downs)
- Physical abuse (hitting, kicking, punching, choking)
- Economic abuse (controlling the money, taking your paycheck, stalking or harassing you at your job or getting you in trouble with your boss)
- Sexual abuse (forcing sex or sexual acts, or forcing you to watch sex acts)
- Intimidation (threatening to take away children or kick you out of the house; throwing things or punching walls; harming pets; threatening to harm children, loved ones or prized possessions abroad)
- Immigration status can be used in abuse and can include threats to call immigration authorities, stealing your passport or not filing immigration papers.
- Forms of abuse can happen in person or long distance via phone, text, social media, email etc.
Domestic violence can occur between family members or persons involved in a relationship...
- Husband and wife
- A gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender couple
- An unmarried couple — including youth who are in a relationship (link to Teen Dating Violence section)
- Adult child and elderly parent
- Between an individual and extended family
Myths and Facts
There are many myths about domestic violence that perpetuate a distorted view about its nature and causes. The following examples are part of a list that we created to prompt people to examine their beliefs and provide them with accurate information.
Myth #1: Anger causes domestic violence.
Myth#2: People who use violence “lose control” of their temper.
Myth #3: Domestic violence occurs only in uneducated and dysfunctional families and in families of color.
Myth #6: Drugs and alcohol cause domestic violence.
Those who both use violence and are alcoholics or use drugs have separate issues to confront if they want help—their addiction and their abusive behavior. Each problem must be addressed independently.
Click here to see the full list of Myths & Facts (PDF).