Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence?

Family abuse, often known as domestic violence, is a pattern of controlling behaviors used by one individual to control or exert power over another individual in the context of an intimate relationship. The abuse may be emotional or physical and may include forced or unwanted sexual contact. The abuser may be a relative, current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

Domestic violence appears to follow a repetitive cycle of four distinct phases. Each stage lasts a different amount of time in each relationship. The total cycle can take from a few hours to a year or more to complete. Do you recognize this cycle of violence in your home?

Cycle of violence:

Cycle of violence

Signs of Abuse

Has your partner ever…

  • Threatened to hurt you or your children?

  • Hit, grabbed, choked, burned, slapped, or pushed you?

  • Used a gun, knife, or any kind of weapon against you?

  • Hit you with an object like a bat, pan, or belt?

  • Hit, held, or squeezed you so hard that it left a bruise?

  • Withheld food, money, medicine, or transportation from you?

  • Called you names or made you feel ashamed of yourself or humiliated?

  • Forced you to have sex when you did not want to?

  • Thrown objects at you or destroyed your property?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may be a victim of domestic violence. The goal of those who engage in abusive behavior is to control and dominate the victim. You may feel that you have to stay in an abusive relationship for the sake of your family or because you simply lack the financial resources to leave. Or perhaps you’ve been promised that your abuser will change and the abuse will never happen again. Everyone hopes that this is the case, but unfortunately that hope does not often materialize. Without outside help, the likelihood that the violence is going to occur again is great, and the anger and abuse will only get worse with time.