Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can happen to anyone. Please know that domestic violence does not always include physical abuse and even without physical abuse, danger can still exist.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence is also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse, dating violence or relationship abuse.

You may be experiencing physical abuse if your partner has done or repeatedly does any of the following tactics of abuse:

  • Pulling your hair, punching, slapping, kicking, biting or choking you
  • Forbidding you from eating or sleeping
  • Hurting you with weapons
  • Preventing you from calling the police or seeking medical attention
  • Harming your children
  • Abandoning you in unfamiliar places
  • Driving recklessly or dangerously when you are in the car with them
  • Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol (especially if you’ve had a substance abuse problem in the past)

Sexually abusive methods of retaining power and control include an abusive partner:

  • Forcing you to dress in a sexual way
  • Insulting you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names
  • Forcing or manipulating you into to having sex or performing sexual acts
  • Holding you down during sex
  • Demanding sex when you’re sick, tired or after hurting you
  • Hurting you with weapons or objects during sex
  • Involving other people in sexual activities with you against your will
  • Ignoring your feelings regarding sex
  • Forcing you to watch pornography
  • Purposefully trying to pass on a sexually transmitted disease to you

Sexual coercion

Sexual coercion lies on the ‘continuum’ of sexually aggressive behavior.  It can vary from being egged on and persuaded, to being forced to have contact. It can be verbal and emotional, in the form of statements that make you feel pressure, guilt, or shame. You can also be made to feel forced through more subtle actions. For example, an abusive partner:

  • Making you feel like you owe them — ex. Because you’re in a relationship, because you’ve had sex before, because they spent money on you or bought you a gift
  • Giving you drugs and alcohol to “loosen up” your inhibitions
  • Playing on the fact that you’re in a relationship, saying things such as: “Sex is the way to prove your love for me,” “If I don’t get sex from you I’ll get it somewhere else”
  • Reacting negatively with sadness, anger or resentment if you say no or don’t immediately agree to something
  • Continuing to pressure you after you say no
  • Making you feel threatened or afraid of what might happen if you say no
  • Trying to normalize their sexual expectations: ex. “I need it, I’m a man”

Even if your partner isn’t forcing you to do sexual acts against your will, being made to feel obligated is coercion in itself. Dating someone, being in a relationship, or being married never means that you owe your partner intimacy of any kind.

You may be in an emotionally/verbally abusive relationship if you partner exerts control through:

  • Calling you names, insulting you or continually criticizing you
  • Refusing to trust you and acting jealous or possessive
  • Trying to isolate you from family or friends
  • Monitoring where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
  • Demanding to know where you are every minute
  • Trapping you in your home or preventing you from leaving
  • Using weapons to threaten to hurt you
  • Punishing you by withholding affection
  • Threatening to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets
  • Damaging your property when they’re angry (throwing objects, punching walls, kicking doors, etc.)
  • Humiliating you in any way
  • Blaming you for the abuse
  • Gaslighting
  • Accusing you of cheating and being often jealous of your outside relationships
  • Serially cheating on you and then blaming you for his or her behavior
  • Cheating on you intentionally to hurt you and then threatening to cheat again
  • Cheating to prove that they are more desired, worthy, etc. than you are
  • Attempting to control your appearance: what you wear, how much/little makeup you wear, etc.
  • Telling you that you will never find anyone better, or that you are lucky to be with a person like them

Economic or financial abuse is when an abusive partner extends their power and control into the area of finances. This abuse can take different forms, including an abusive partner:

  • Giving an allowance and closely watching how you spend it or demanding receipts for purchases
  • Placing your paycheck in their bank account and denying you access to it
  • Preventing you from viewing or having access to bank accounts
  • Forbidding you to work or limiting the hours that you can work
  • Maxing out credit cards in your name without permission or not paying the bills on credit cards, which could ruin your credit score
  • Stealing money from you or your family and friends
  • Using funds from children’s savings accounts without your permission
  • Living in your home but refusing to work or contribute to the household
  • Making you give them your tax returns or confiscating joint tax returns
  • Refusing to give you money to pay for necessities/shared expenses like food, clothing, transportation, or medical care and medicine

Using Threats and Coercion

  • Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt you
  • Threatening to leave you
  • Making threats of suicide or other self-harm
  • Making threats to harm you or the children if you leave
  • Threatening to report you to welfare to impact your assistance or initiate a child maltreatment investigation
  • Threatening that Child Protective Services will take the children away
  • Making you ask to drop criminal charges and/or protective orders

Intimidation

  • Causing you or your family to feel fear by using looks, actions or gestures to intimidate
  • Destroying your property or property you share to punish, intimidate or show authority
  • Using physical size to intimate you or the children
  • Abusing animals to send messages or threats of violence
  • Displaying or cleaning weapons in front of the family to send messages or threats of violence
  • Using violence in front of the children

Digital abuse is the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated online. You may be experiencing digital abuse if your partner:

  • Tells you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook and other sites.
  • Sends you negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, DMs or other messages online.
  • Uses sites like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and others to keep constant tabs on you.
  • Puts you down in their status updates.
  • Sends you unwanted, explicit pictures and demands you send some in return.
  • Pressures you to send explicit videos.
  • Steals or insists on being given your passwords.
  • Constantly texts you and makes you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished.
  • Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.
  • Tags you unkindly in pictures on Instagram, Tumblr, etc.
  • Uses any kind of technology (such spyware or GPS in a car or on a phone) to monitor you

You never deserve to be mistreated, online or off. Remember:

  • Your partner should respect your relationship boundaries.
  • It is ok to turn off your phone. You have the right to be alone and spend time with friends and family without your partner getting angry.
  • You do not have to text any pictures or statements that you are uncomfortable sending, especially nude or partially nude photos, known as “sexting.”
  • You lose control of any electronic message once your partner receives it. They may forward it, so don’t send anything you fear could be seen by others.
  • You do not have to share your passwords with anyone.
  • Know your privacy settings. Social networks such as Facebook allow the user to control how their information is shared and who has access to it. These are often customizable and are found in the privacy section of the site. Remember, registering for some applications (apps) require you to change your privacy settings.
  • Be mindful when using check-ins like Facebook Places and foursquare. Letting an abusive partner know where you are could be dangerous. Also, always ask your friends if it’s ok for you to check them in. You never know if they are trying to keep their location secret.
  • You have the right to feel comfortable and safe in your relationship, even online.

“Abuse Defined.” The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 20 Sept. 2018, www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/.

 

Relationship Red Flags

  • Wants to move too quickly into the relationship.
  • Early in the relationship flatters you constantly, and seems “too good to be true.”
  • Wants you all to him- or herself; insists that you stop spending time with your friends or family.
  • Insists that you stop participating in hobbies or activities, quit school, or quit your job.
  • Does not honor your boundaries.
  • Is excessively jealous and accuses you of being unfaithful.
  • Wants to know where you are all of the time and frequently calls, emails, and texts you throughout the day.
  • Criticizes or puts you down; says you are crazy, stupid, and/or fat/unattractive, or that no one else would ever want or love you.
  • Takes no responsibility for his or her behavior and blames others.
  • Has a history of abusing others.
  • Blames the entire failure of previous relationships on his or her former partner; for example, “My ex was totally crazy.”
  • Takes your money or runs up your credit card debt.
  • Rages out of control with you but can maintain composure around others.

“Red Flags of Abuse.” NNEDV, 2020, nnedv.org/content/red-flags-of-abuse/.

 

Dating Violence

Domestic violence can be experienced and perpetrated by young people. This is also known as dating violence, teen dating violence, or dating abuse. 69.5% of women and 53.6% of men who have been physically or sexually abused or stalked by a dating partner first experienced abuse between the ages of 11-24.

( Breiding, M.J., Chen J., Black, M.C. (2014). Intimate Partner Violence in the United States — 2010. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Domestic Violence & Seperation

The assumption that leaving a person that chooses to use domestic violence will increase the safety of the survivor and their children is not always accurate. The survivor may have been abused or threatened with abuse, including death, if they leave. Threats and risk may extend to children, family and friends as well. 

Did you know you can Text 911 in Canadian County?

Safety Planning

Domestic violence dynamics and the behaviors of the person choosing to be abusive are ever changing. We can work alongside survivors on individualized, careful planning and ongoing evaluation of changing risks, level of external support, resources, and the options of safe pathways toward safety and healing.

If domestic violence has happened to you or someone you care about, we can help.

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