Mother with her arm around her teen daughterWhat Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is the use of emotional, psychological, physical, sexual and/or economic abuse by one person in a current or former intimate relationship in order to maintain power and control over the other person.

Domestic violence knows no boundaries. People of all ages, genders, cultures, religions, professions and income levels experience domestic violence.

Types of abuse:

Psychological or emotional abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. Emotional abuse may include verbal abuse such as yelling, name calling, blaming and shaming. Nonverbal abuse may include behaviors and tactics such as isolation, intimidation and coercion. Emotional abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse.

Physical abuse occurs when one person uses physical force or the threat of physical force to intimidate, injure or endanger another person. There is a wide range of behaviors that fall into the category of physical abuse, including pushing, hitting, kicking, grabbing, choking, throwing things, driving recklessly, abandonment and assault with a weapon.

Sexual abuse exists in any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity. Forcible sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you have or have had consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence.

Reproductive abuse is when your partner prevents you from making your own decisions about your reproductive health. It includes sabotaging your birth control, threatening or pressuring you to get pregnant or have an abortion, and removing a condom during sex without your consent.

Financial abuse is another way an abusive partner may try to gain control. Abusers who use financial abuse to gain control over their partners often use the following tactics:

  • Denying access to funds
  • Having their partner account for every penny spent
  • Putting all bills in their partner’s name
  • Not allowing their partner’s name to be on the lease, mortgage, bank account, car title, etc.
  • Demanding their partner’s paycheck
  • Interfering with their partner’s work or refusing to allow them to work
  • Taking their partner’s car keys or otherwise preventing them from using their car

If you or someone you know is seeking to leave an abusive relationship, contact LifeWire’s 24-Hour Helpline at 425-746-1940 for information and support. Our trained staff can help with crisis intervention, safety planning, emotional support and information, about your options.