What is Domestic Violence?

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Domestic Violence Is…

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone. Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, economic class, immigration status, religion, or gender. It can happen to couples that are married, living together, or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Does the Person You Love:

  • Threaten to hurt you or other people you care about?
  • Hit, kick, punch, push, choke or use physical force against you?
  • Criticize or blame you for everything that goes wrong?
  • Humiliate you in front of other people?
  • Control your access to money?
  • Control the decision-making in your relationship?
  • Control your time and actions?
  • Put you down, call you names, make you feel like you’re crazy?
  • Destroy your property or abuse your pets?
  • Threaten to hurt you or commit suicide if you leave?
  • Force or coerce you to have sex when you don’t want to?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship.  You are not alone; many people just like you are dealing with violence at home.  You didn’t cause the violence and no one has the right to hurt you.  If you would like to talk with someone, free and confidential help is just a phone call away.

To speak with an advocate:

Call our 24-hour crisis line at 651-227-8284, the Statewide Toll-Free line at 1-866-223-1111, or the National Domestic Violence line at 1-800-799-7233.

Want to learn more about domestic violence? You can see our educational presentation topics here. To schedule a presentation on DV 101 for your school, workplace, or organization, click here.

Women’s Advocates’ outreach and education programming is supported by the Verizon Hope Line.