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What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence–or intimate partner violence–is a pattern of coercive, controlling, dominant behavior that one person uses to maintain dominance and power over another. Abuse may be physical, emotional or psychological, verbal, sexual, technological or financial. Domestic violence often begins gradually and escalates over time.

Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. It can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and even death. The devastating consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.

Warning Signs

Abusers may seem wonderful initially, appear to be kind and gentle, and dote on their victims. The abuser may make the victim feel so loved that they are unprepared when the abuser becomes more aggressive and controlling.

Here are some behaviors that abusers may exhibit:

  • Being temperamental–charming one moment, angry the next;
  • Being irrationally jealous of other people in your life;
  • Being overly demanding of your time and attention, isolating you from family and friends;
  • Intentionally damaging your relationships with others;
  • Making you feel bad for going to work, school, or to see family/friends;
  • Making you feel that you are responsible for their happiness;
  • Threatening and intimidating you if you do not do what they want;
  • Using insults to erode your confidence;
  • Hiding their abusive behavior around others;
  • Withholding affection in order to control your behavior; or
  • Minimizing your concerns, claiming you are too emotional or overreacting if you call out their behavior.

People who are being abused may:

  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner;
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does;
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing;
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls and texts from their partner;
  • Make excuses for their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness;
  • Frequently miss school or social occasions without explanation;
  • Have difficulty making decisions or may show poor self-confidence;
  • Withdraw from social activities, friendships, etc;
  • Be restricted from seeing family and friends; or
  • Rarely go out in public without their partner.

Types of Abuse

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