What is Abuse?

Domestic violence can occur between two current or formerly romantically involved partners. 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 adhere to 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • Homophobic – 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?