Health Advocate Blog

Domestic violence: Know the signs and get help

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence, also known as battering or intimate partner violence, is widespread in the United States and it can be long-term and life-threatening. In fact, one in three women and one in four men have experienced domestic violence within their lifetime.

It can be difficult to know if you’re being abused. Many people may not recognize that their relationship is unhealthy, or they may be hopeful that their partner will go back to behaving the way they did at the beginning of the relationship. Or, they may think that being the target of cruel or threatening words is not abuse–but it is. Abuse often starts out as threats and is a sign that a person can become physically violent.

At the center of domestic violence is the issue of control. The abuser is intent on gaining and maintaining power over their partner through fear and intimidation and he or she may achieve this through various tactics.

Know the signs of abuse and get help

If you recognize any of the behaviors below, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. Below is a list of possible signs of abuse. You may be in an abusive relationship if your partner engages in the following:

  • Emotional abuse/threats: Yelling, ridiculing you, humiliating you in front of others; controlling and monitoring what you do all the time; preventing or discouraging you from seeing friends or family; controlling how you spend your money and/or your use of needed medications; threatening to hurt you or your children or pets, or cause serious problems for you
  • Physical abuse: Hitting, shoving, kicking, slapping, biting or throwing things; destroying your property or things you care about
  • Sexual abuse: Forcing you to have sex against your will or do something sexual that you don’t want to do
  • Threatening you at work: Harassing phone calls, texts or emails; stalking in the parking lot, following you, or other threatening behavior; preventing or discouraging you from going to work or school.

If you think someone is abusing you, get help as soon as possible. No one has the right to hurt you.

Help is available

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 911
  • For more information or to get help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.SAFE (7233) or 800.787.3224 (TTD)

For Health Advocate members

  • If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our EAP+Work/Life Program and domestic abuse is affecting your life, and/or if you have missed days at work because of abuse, you should get help. Connect with a Health Advocate Licensed Professional Counselor for free, confidential help, and if needed, referrals for additional support.
  • If you’re Health Advocate member with our Advocacy services, contact us to speak with a Personal Health Advocate who specializes in behavioral health. The Personal Health Advocate can help you identify resources for help.

For more information, visit:

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence 
1-800-537-2238 and