Domestic violence, also called relationship violence or intimate partner violence, occurs when one person in a relationship purposely hurts another person physically or emotionally. It often starts out as threats and verbal abuse and frequently escalates to physical violence. Many people may not recognize that their relationship is unhealthy, or they may be hopeful that their partner will change.
You are in an abusive relationship if your partner engages in the following:
• Emotional abuse: Yelling, ridiculing you, controlling what you do, threatening to cause serious problems for you, isolating you from friends and family, restricting your finances
• Physical abuse: Hitting, shoving, kicking, biting or throwing things
• Sexual abuse: Forcing you to have sex 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
It’s always important to remember that these behaviors can be somewhat subtle at first, often starting out as put-downs or unkind remarks. But they can, and often do, escalate into more serious forms of emotional or physical violence. In fact, according to the CDC, about 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any degree of controlling behavior from a partner, don’t wait to talk to someone. Make the call to learn how to be safe.
- If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
- Or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.SAFE (7233) or 800.787.3224 (TTD). Available 24/7/365. It’s completely confidential.