Speak Out to End Domestic Violence
Domestic violence (also referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV), dating 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 doesn’t discriminate. People of any race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, education level, or economic status can be a victim — or perpetrator — of domestic violence. That includes behaviors that physically harm, intimidate, manipulate, or control a partner or otherwise force them to behave in ways they don’t want to. This can happen through physical violence, threats, emotional abuse, or financial control.
Physical – examples include: pushing, shoving, tripping, holding down, hitting, slapping, suffocating, strangulation, restraining, kicking, giving inappropriate medication, etc.
Sexual – examples include: unwanted kissing, fondling, touching, unable to understand or give consent, threat of harm, rape or attempted rape, keeping someone from protecting themselves from sexual transmitted infections, pressuring someone to perform sex acts or forcing sex with a third party, restricting access to birth control, etc.
Emotional – examples include: yelling, threatening, name calling, intimidation factors, undermining authority, humiliating the victim, harassment, constant put-downs, “crazy making,” extreme jealousy, etc.
Financial – examples include: withholding money, depriving someone of financial benefits, stealing, forging checks or ATM card, etc.
Confinement – examples include: restraining or isolating someone, denying access to phone/mail, limiting time spent with loved ones, etc.
Abuse is a learned behavior. Some people witness it in their own families growing up; others learn it slowly from friends, popular culture, or structural inequities throughout our society. No matter where they develop such behaviors, those who commit abusive acts make a choice in doing so — they also could choose not to.
Many people experience or witness abuse and use their experiences to end the cycle of violence and heal themselves without harming others. While outside factors (including drug or alcohol addiction) can escalate abuse, it’s important to recognize that these issues do not cause domestic violence.