Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is verbal or emotional, rather than physical. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is a first step. If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the following information, please call
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Domestic abuse occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.
Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain control. Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under their thumb. An abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt, or threaten to hurt, those around you.
Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. It happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused. Abusive behavior is never acceptable. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.
While physical injury may be the most obvious danger of domestic abuse, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and cause you to feel helpless and alone. Additionally, verbal and emotional abuse often escalates to violence.
There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If your partner belittles you or tries to control you, or if you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive.
Any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence. Furthermore, people whose partners abuse them physically and sexually are at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed.
The incidents of physical abuse seem minor when compared to those you have read about, seen on television or heard other women talk about. The violence can escalate at any time, without notice.
There has not been any physical violence. Many women and men are emotionally and verbally abused. This can be equally as frightening and is usually a precursor to physical violence.
The incidents of physical abuse have only occurred one or two times in the relationship. Studies indicate that if your spouse / partner has injured you once, it is likely they will continue to physically assault you. The physical assaults may have stopped when you became passive, but it can start again at any time. Also, though the physical abuse may have stopped, the verbal and emotional abuse is likely ongoing.
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