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Abuse happens in every culture, age, race, nationality and socio-economic level. It happens in both heterosexual and LGBT relationships, and among family members.

  • Are you frightened by your partner’s temper?
  • Are you afraid to disagree?
  • Do you have to justify everything you do, every place you go or every person you see to avoid someone’s anger?
  • Does your partner put you down and then tell you that he or she loves you?
  • Do you stay away from friends or family because your partner will be jealous?
  • Have you been forced into having sex when you didn’t want to?
  • Are you afraid to break up because others have threatened to hurt you or themselves?
  • Does your partner hurt you?
  • Do you feel intimidated or controlled by your partner’s or your own extended family?
  • Does someone withhold medication that you need to stay healthy?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might be suffering abuse.

Click here to see a list of warning signs (PDF).

Domestic violence can take many forms...

  • Psychological or emotional abuse (threats, insults, and put downs)
  • Physical abuse  (hitting, kicking, punching, choking)
  • Economic abuse (controlling the money, taking your paycheck,  stalking or harassing you at your job or getting you in trouble with your boss)
  • Sexual abuse  (forcing sex or sexual acts,  or forcing you to watch sex acts)
  • Intimidation (threatening to take away children or kick you out of the house;  throwing things or punching walls; harming pets; threatening to harm children, loved ones or prized possessions abroad)
  • Immigration status can be used in abuse and can include threats to call immigration authorities, stealing your passport or not filing immigration papers.
  • Forms of abuse can happen in person or long distance via phone, text, social media, email etc.

Domestic violence can occur between family members or persons involved in a relationship...

  • Husband and wife
  • A gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender couple
  • An unmarried couple — including youth who are in a relationship. (PDF)
  • Adult child and elderly parent
  • Between an individual and extended family

Myths and Facts

There are many myths about domestic violence that perpetuate a distorted view about its nature and causes. The following examples are part of a list that we created to prompt people to examine their beliefs and provide them with accurate information. Click here to see the full list of Myths & Facts (PDF).

Myth #1: Anger causes domestic violence.

Individuals who use abuse are not angrier than the rest of us. They use anger as an excuse and justification for their behavior. We all experience anger, but many of us don’t express it by abusing others.

Myth#2: People who use violence “lose control” of their temper.

Abusive behavior is not loss of control; it is the exertion of power and control of one partner over the other.

Myth #3: Domestic violence occurs only in uneducated and dysfunctional families and in families of color.

Domestic violence touches every demographic group—regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, class, sexual orientation, occupation or education.

Myth #4: Drugs and alcohol cause domestic violence.

Drugs and alcohol can increase the danger level and have been present in at least 50% of domestic violence cases. However, many alcoholics or drug users do not use violence, and many who use violence do not use drugs and alcohol. Stopping the person’s drinking will not end the violence.

Those who both use violence and are alcoholics or use drugs have separate issues to confront if they want help—their addiction and their abusive behavior. Each problem must be addressed independently. 

Click here to see the full list of Myths & Facts (PDF).

photography © douglas beasley | made with a copilot