Domestic violence, also called “partner abuse,” is a pattern of abusive behavior one person uses in a relationship to control, humiliate, and hurt another person. It can be emotional, sexual, financial, physical, or about your identity.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone – rich, poor, old, young, rural, urban, of any race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, and background – and is deserved by no one.
If someone is doing any of these things…
· Puts you down and makes you feel worthless
· Is overly possessive (gets extremely jealous, spies on you)
· Blames everything on you
· Isolates you from your friends and family
· Tries to control your life
· Is lying and manipulating
· Doesn’t respect your boundaries
· Describes your body in ways you don’t like
· Posts or shares nude photos or videos without your permission
Cultural/ Identity Abuse:
· Makes you feel bad about your race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or other important parts of who you are
· Says no one else will love you because of who you are
· Doesn’t let you be yourself
· Threatens to tell other people about parts of your identity that you prefer to keep private
· Makes it hard for you to work or go to school
· Controls the money
· Is running up credit cards in your name
· Hits, punches, strangles, or shoves you or your loved ones
· Threatens to harm or kill you, your family, or your pets
· Takes away your wheelchair, crutches, hearing aids, or other assistive devices
· Locks you in or out of the house
…then you may be experiencing abuse. It is not your fault. Abusers often try to blame their victims for their abusive behavior, but this is a lie. Abusers are in charge of their behavior. They are making a choice to be abusive. You did nothing to deserve it. No one deserves it. You deserve a healthy relationship and a partner who builds you up and makes you feel safe.
Abuse generally escalates and gets worse over time, with periods of calm in between increasingly violent outbursts.
At Elizabeth Freeman Center, we recognize that different solutions are right for different people and at different times. The important thing is that you do what feels right to make yourself and your family safe, and that you remember that you are worthy of love and care and deserve to be treated well.
Call us or come in if you want to talk about your relationship or about ways you can plan for safety.
Physical abuse is only one part of a whole series of things abusers do to try to control their partners. The power and control wheel below shows different forms abuse can take.