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What are Signs of Domestic Violence and Abuse?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 2

Domestic Violence

Signs of Domestic Violence

Signs of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence and abuse is a pattern of behavior where a person tries to control a lover, friend, or other person close to him or her. It might include physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and/or economic abuse. Domestic violence is not just limited to those in heterosexual relationships. Despite what you might think, these forms of abuse cross all social, ethnic, racial and economic lines. There are many forms of abuse and it is not just limited to someone using their fists. Domestic violence is perpetrated by both genders.

What are the Signs of Domestic Violence?

  • Physical abuse. Physical abuse or isolation includes hitting, choking, slapping, burning, shoving, using a weapon, neglecting, locking up the person, restricting freedom, controlling personal/social contacts, access to information and participation in groups or organizations, destroying property, mementos, breaking furniture/windows, or smashing objects.
  • Emotional or psychological abuse. Emotional abuse is a very common form of domestic violence and often overlooked and under-appreciated in its devastation to the victim. This type of abuse includes criticizing, ridiculing, trying to humiliate and degrade or break down self-esteem, lying, making threats, intimidation, threatening harm, and/or threatening children, family or friends. Another sign that is not fully recognized is threatening to make reports to the authorities that would jeopardize child custody, immigration or legal status. Even if someone is in the country illegally or doing something illegal there is a leverage for control that is used as a form of abuse. Using children to control or intimidate or threatening for the custody of children is abuse and a sign of domestic violence.
  • Manipulation. Abusers are like puppet masters. Using vulnerabilities as a control or manipulation tactic is abusive behavior and definitely a sign of domestic violence. This can look like many things, including the person using your past experience with abuse or violence, an illness, trauma, homophobia or any other vulnerability to manipulate and control. This type of abuse is subtle and hard to recognize.
  • Sexual violence and abuse. This topic is often overlooked. It includes forcing intercourse or specific acts, assaulting "sexual parts," withholding for control or punishment, and/or criticism. Marital rape exists, happens frequently, and is not excusable by a marriage certificate. Even when you are married you have a right to say no to your partner and have that respected.
  • In Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer (LGBTQ) relationships threatening to reveal sexual orientation to family, friends, neighbors, employers, ex-spouses, and/or city, state, and/or federal authorities is abuse. Domestic violence and abuse, in all forms, does occur between gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and otherwise queer identified people and their relationships. This topic is of special importance in these communities because it goes unreported because of fear. There is a different type of fear that happens between LGBT folks because of the stigma of their orientation.

Final thoughts:

  • if you recognize the signs of domestic violence and abuse and it sounds like you or someone you know then please get help
  • if you are in a domestic violence situation believe you are worth getting out of it, receiving help, and finding happiness
  • call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
  • if you are in an abusive relationship and in physical danger make sure to get help to ensure safety



Jan 4, 2010 3:51pm
Great article about the different types of violence in a relationship. I commend you for having the courage to write it as this is not an easy subject. Thumbs UP.
Jun 3, 2010 1:28am
This will definitely be helpful to people who are or know of people who are in an abusive relationship. Truly incredible work.
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