Domestic violence occurs between individuals currently or formerly involved in a romantic relationship. Relationship abuse follows an escalating pattern in which one partner uses power to control and hurt the other person in the relationship. Violence in relationships knows no boundaries – it can happen to anyone, at any age, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, ability, level of education, sexual orientation or economic background.
Abuse takes many forms:
- Emotional – Assaulting your self-esteem.
- Verbal – Name-calling, threatening, or putting you down.
- Psychological – Undermining your sense of reality and questioning your rationality or decision-making, causing you to feel you are “going crazy.”
- Physical – Hurting your body, including kicking, punching, shoving, slapping, pushing, or restraining.
- Sexual – Calling you vulgar names, criticizing your body, pressuring or coercing you to perform sexual acts you are uncomfortable with, rape.
- Stalking – Constant calling or texting, using GPS devices to track your movements, persistent communications through mail or email that are unwanted.
- Spiritual – Attacking your spiritual or religious beliefs. Compromising your ability to participate in your faith or socialize with your faith community.
- Financial – Controlling and manipulating you by threatening your economic status and/or basic needs.
- Sexual Identity – Threatening to “out” you to people who do not know your sexual orientation.
- Immigration – Using your immigration status and fear of deportation to control you.
- Reproductive – Sabotaging or preventing your use of birth control. Intentionally trying to impregnate you without your consent.
- Destructive Acts – Actual or threatened assault of your property or pets to scare you.