What is Abuse?

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.

Are you experiencing abuse?

Is a friend experiencing abuse?

Do you have a friend who is abusive?