What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.
Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.
Domestic violence includes behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of domestic violence/abuse can be occurring at any one time within the same intimate relationship.
The Power & Control Wheel describes what occurs in an abusive relationship.
Think of the wheel as a diagram of the tactics an abusive partner uses to keep their victim in the relationship. While the inside of the wheel is comprised of subtle, continual behaviors, the outer ring represents physical, visible violence. These are the abusive acts that are more overt and forceful, and often the intense acts that reinforce the regular use of other more subtle methods of abuse.
Does your partner ever….
- Insult, demean or embarrass you with put-downs?
- Control what you do, who you talk to or where you go?
- Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
- Push you, slap you, choke you or hit you?
- Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
- Control the money in the relationship? Make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
- Make all of the decisions without your input or consideration of your needs?
- Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away your children?
- Prevent you from working or attending school?
- Act like the abuse is no big deal, deny the abuse or tell you it’s your own fault?
- Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
- Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
- Attempt to force you to drop criminal charges?
- Threaten to commit suicide, or threaten to kill you?
If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, you may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Please call us at 608-752-2583 or text us at 608-371-9288 if anything you read raises a red flag about your own relationship or that of someone you know. We’re here to help, and we’re available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
You’re not alone.
Recognizing the warning signs of abuse
It’s impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs of emotional abuse and domestic violence. If you witness these warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously.
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 from their partner
Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
Warning signs of physical violence- People who are being physically abused may:
Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)
Warning signs of isolation- People who are being isolated by their abuser may:
Be restricted from seeing family and friends
Rarely go out in public without their partner
Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car
The psychological warning signs of abuse– People who are being abused may:
Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal
Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or abuse
If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up!If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or that the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save their life.
Talk to the person in private and let them know that you’re concerned. Point out the signs you’ve noticed that worry you. Tell the person that you’re there for them, whenever they feel ready to talk. Reassure them that you’ll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and let them know that you’ll help in any way you can.
Reach out to an advocate for more information about available resources.