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Domestic Violence Overview

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence occurs between intimate partners, spouses, adult parent/child, adult siblings, and in-laws. It is a pattern of behavior when one person in a relationship tries to control or maintain power over another. Forms of abuse include: verbal, psychological, physical, sexual, and economic.

Signs of a Dangerous Relationship:

Isolation: Controls and limits what you do, whom you see and where you go

Intimidation: Making you afraid through looks, actions and gestures

Gender Privilege: He wants to be "king of the castle" or she wants to be "treated like a princess"

Psychological and Emotional Abuse: Threats made or carried out with the intent of harm or humiliation. Name-calling, putting you down, or blaming

Physical Abuse: Attempts to physically hurt or frighten you. Slapping, pushing, pinching, hair pulling or forced drug and alcohol use

Economic Abuse: Controls family finances. Refuses to share financial information with you. Refuses to give you money. Demands receipts for items you purchase

Sexual Abuse: Rapes you, make you do sexual things against your will, attack sexual body parts.

The Cycle of Violence

Tension Building Phase: You feel as if you are walking on eggshells. Begins to blame you for things that go wrong in the     relationship. Tries to control what you do. Threatens to hurt you if you don't follow orders. You feel confused, frightened and worried.

Violent and Abusive Phase: Becomes physically violence and/or emotionally threatening. You are afraid for your safety.

Honeymoon Phase: Apologizes and promises that the threats and violence will never happen again.


  Violence will most likely escalate unless someone or something steps in to "break the cycle".

No one deserves to be abused! You did not cause it and you can't change them.

What can I do if I am in a dangerous relationship?

  • Educate yourself
  • Contact a local domestic violence hotline and see what services are available to you
  • Carefully consider all options, but move at your own pace and learn to trust your instincts
  • Make a safey plan
  • Do not expect things to happen quickly
  • Do not judge yourself

Remember: Becoming trapped in a dangerous relationship is a process, therefore becoming free of a dangerous relationship is a process.

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