Domestic violence occurs in a relationship when one partner keeps a position of power and control over the other by the use of fear, intimidation and control. While the typical image is that of a woman being physically beaten by her husband, please note that there does not have to be physical violence for the relationship to be considered abusive. Along with physical abuse, verbal, emotional, financial, and religious abuse can occur as well. It is true that 95% of domestic violence occurs toward women by men, but abuse can also occur toward men by women, in same-sex relationships, and both in and out of marriage. Domestic violence knows no boundaries of age, economic or social status, race or religion. The pattern of abuse tends to go in cycles, with a period of abusive behavior being followed by remorse and future promises to change. The abused person gets caught in the cycle hoping “This time it will be different” and offering the next chance to the abuser.
Am I being Abused? (provided by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
Look over the following questions. Think about how you are being treated and how you treat your partner.
Does your partner…
- Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family?
- Put down your accomplishments or goals?
- Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions?
- Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance?
- Tell you that your are nothing without them?
- Treat you roughly—grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you?
- Call you several times a night or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be?
- Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
- Blame you for how they feel or act?
- Pressure you sexually for things you aren’t ready for?
- Make you feel like there “is no way out” of the relationship?
- Prevent you from doing things you want—like spending time with your friends or family?
- Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere after a fight to “teach you a lesson”?
- Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
- Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior?
- Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
- Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
- Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
- Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke up?
If any of these are happening in your relationship, please talk to someone. The abuse will just keep getting worse.