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Domestic Violence

Types of Abuse

  • Physical Abuse

    Physical abuse is any intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body and is the most common form of abuse as well as the most dangerous. Sometimes abusive behavior does not cause pain or even leave a bruise, but it is still unhealthy. Examples of physical abuse include:


    • Scratching, punching, biting, restraining, strangling or kicking
    • Throwing something at you such as a phone, book, shoe or plate
    • Pushing or pulling you
    • Grabbing your clothing
    • Breaking down a door to get to you
    • Using or threatening to use a gun, knife, box cutter, bat, mace or other weapon against you
    • Withholding medicine or medical treatment
    • Forcing you to have sex or perform a sexual act
    • Grabbing you to prevent you from leaving or forcing you to go somewhere
    • Abandoning you in dangerous places
    • Backing you into a corner
    • Spitting on you
    • Driving at unsafe speeds to intimidate you
    • Choking
    • Refusing to help you when you are sick, injured or pregnant
    • Pinning you down
    • Locking you out of the house
    • Animal cruelty towards pets
  • Emotional Abuse

    Emotional abuse deals with harming a victim’s mental state through both verbal, physical and non-physical behaviors. The end result causes the victim to look at their world differently, and can make it incredibly difficult to even acknowledge the abuse is taking place. There are many behaviors that qualify as emotional abuse including:


    • Breaking promises, not following through on agreements or taking their fair share of responsibility
    • Yelling and screaming at you
    • Attacking your vulnerabilities, such as your language skills, educational level, skills as a parent, religious and cultural beliefs or physical appearance
    • Isolating you from family and friends
    • Controlling what you do, who you talk to and where you go
    • Making threats against you
    • Calling you names and putting you down
    • Accusing you of cheating and often being jealous of your outside relationships
    • Intentionally embarrassing you in public
    • Using reckless behavior, such as driving, to intimidate you
    • Blaming your actions for their abusive or unhealthy behavior
    • Withholding approval or affection as punishment
    • Regularly threatening to leave or telling you to leave
    • Threatening to commit suicide to keep you from breaking up with them
    • Always claiming to be right
  • Verbal Abuse

    Identifying verbal abuse is challenging for some due to the seemingly benign nature of some of the comments. There is a clear line between harmless banter and harmful language meant to demean, degrade or control someone. Some examples of verbal abuse are:


    • Degrading you in front of family and friends
    • Telling hurtful “jokes” despite your requests to stop
    • Name calling
    • Using “backhanded compliments” to tear down your self-esteem
    • Threatening to harm you or people you care about
    • Public or private humiliation
    • Blaming you for actions out of your control
    • Using online communities or cell phones to control, intimidate or humiliate you
    • Constant criticism of your actions
    • Accusing you of things you haven’t done
    • Taking your statements out of context
  • Sexual Abuse

    Sexual abuse refers to any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they don’t want to do. It can refer to behavior that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or circumstances in which sexual activity occurs. It can affect both men and women, regardless of age, sexual orientation. It may not always involve the act of sexual intercourse, but does involve actions and situations of a sexual nature.

    It is important to know that just because a victim "didn’t say no", doesn’t mean that they meant "yes". When someone does not resist an unwanted sexual advance, it doesn’t mean that they consented. Sometimes physically resisting can put a victim at bigger risk for future physical or sexual abuse. Whether they were intoxicated or felt pressured, intimidated or obligated to act a certain way, sexual assault/abuse is never the victim’s fault. Some examples of sexual assault include:


    • Unwanted kissing or touching
    • Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity
    • Rape or attempted rape
    • Name calling with sexual epithets
    • Demanding sex after a violent action
    • Forcing you to have sex with others
    • Withholding sex as a form of control
    • Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control
    • Keeping someone from protecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
    • Sexual contact with someone who is very drunk, drugged, unconscious or otherwise unable to give a clear and informed "yes" or "no"
    • Threatening someone into unwanted sexual activity
    • Pressuring or forcing someone to have sex or preform sexual acts
    • Using sexual insults toward someone
    • Videotaping or photographing sexual acts without your permission
  • Financial Abuse

    Financial abuse can be very subtle and may never include any direct action towards a victim. This type of abuse is among the most effective forms of control as it focuses on removing the victim’s financial independence or ability to earn a separate income. Here are some examples of financially abusive behaviors:


    • Giving you an allowance and closely watching what you buy
    • Forcing you to sign papers in English that you do not understand such as court papers, IRS forms, Immigration papers
    • Placing your paycheck in their account and denying you access to it
    • Keeping you from seeing shared bank accounts or records
    • Forbidding you to work or limiting the hours you do
    • Getting you fired by harassing you, your employer or coworkers on the job
    • Using your social security number to obtain bank credit loans without your permission
    • Using your child’s social security number to claim an income tax refund without your permission
    • Using your credit cards without your permission
  • Stalking

    You are being stalked when a person repeatedly watches, follows or harasses you, making you feel afraid or unsafe. A stalker can be someone you know, a past partner or a stranger. Some examples of stalking may include:


    • Showing up at your home or place of work uninvited or unannounced
    • Sending you unwanted text messages, letters, emails and voicemails
    • Leaving unwanted items, gifts or flowers
    • Constantly calling you and hanging up
    • Monitoring your email activity
    • Using social networking sites and technology to track you
    • Spread rumors about you via internet or word of mouth
    • Make unwanted phone calls to you
    • Calling your employer
    • Waiting at the places you hang out
    • Using other people as resources to investigate your life. For example, looking at your Facebook page through someone else’s page or befriending one friend to get more information about you
    • Damaging your home, car or other property