What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior that is used by one person in a relationship to gain and/or maintain power and control over another. An abuser seeks to be in control of the thoughts, beliefs, conduct or actions of his or her partner.

Domestic violence takes many forms: physical, verbal/emotional, sexual, reproductive, financial, cultural, and/or spiritual.

Domestic violence happens to people from every ethnicity and economic background, and affects people who are straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

If your partner is abusive, it is not your fault. Your partner, and only your partner, is responsible.

The statistics about domestic violence are alarming. They help us understand that no one is immune and that there are some common warning signs and red flags that may indicate domestic violence.

Warning Signs

Does Your Partner:

  • Threaten to harm you, your children, or pets?
  • Call you names or tell you you're stupid?
  • Withhold your medications?
  • Throw or break things?
  • Open your mail, or read your journals?
  • Control your economic decisions?
  • Demand to know where you are at all times, who you are with, and where you are going?
  • Threaten suicide?
  • Threaten to break up with you, or worry about your breaking up with him/her?
  • Refuse to use birth control methods, or control your access to birth control?

Do You:

  • Feel like you're walking on eggshells?
  • Change your behavior due to his/her moods?
  • Not see family or friends to avoid his/her jealousy or anger?
  • Feel threatened or scared by your partner's moods, actions, or behavior?

If you answered YES to any of these, you may be in an abusive relationship. Contact a Safe Passage counselor to talk about your options and get support.

For more information, visit our "Want Info" Section. You can download brochures on various topics there.

Simple Power and Control Wheel