If you are involved in a violent relationship, you are not alone. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010).
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. While the majority of victims are female, men are also victims. Domestic violence occurs in the LGBT community at similar rates to heterosexual relationships. It occurs in teen dating relationships. Any age, race, economic level, or background - Domestic Violence knows no boundaries.
Domestic Violence is not just physical abuse. It can take many forms, including:
- Verbal and Emotional Abuse - Name calling, insults, threats, isolation from family and friends, controlling, mind games, etc.
- Physical Abuse - Hitting, slapping, kicking, pulling hair, restraining, strangling, etc.
- Sexual Abuse - Unwanted sexual activity, demanding sex after a physical assault, injuring breast or genitals, forced prostitution, etc.
- Economic Abuse - Not being allowed to work/go to school, calling/going to workplace excessively, controlling money and financial decisions, having to earn "allowance" for basic needs, etc.
Abuse gets worse over time.
Domestic Violence is a pattern of controlling, coercive, and abusive behavior that tends to escalate over time. You deserve better. There is help and there is hope.
It may not always be easy to spot the warning signs, but abusive relationships can share some common characteristics. Jealousy, possessiveness, or trying to control who you talk to, how you dress, etc. may be an early warning sign. They may call/text you excessively, or show up unannounced. You may feel pressured to spend less time with family, friends, or activities because it takes away from time to spend with your partner, or because your partner feels they are coming between you. You may feel like nothing you do is right, that you are constantly criticized. Your partner may be quick to anger and blame others. They may refuse to accept ending the relationship, or threaten to harm themselves if you end it.