1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will be victims of domestic violence or abuse in their lifetime.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence is an ongoing behavior that gradually undermines the victim’s confidence and ability to leave the abuser. The severity and frequency of violence often escalate over time.
Abuse is not caused by anger, mental problems, alcohol, drugs, or other common excuses (although those issues can make the abuse worse). The real cause of abuse is a person’s belief that they have the right to control their partner.
Abuse can be any combination of physical, verbal, financial, emotional, and/or technological abuse and/or control. In some cases, the abuse never includes physical violence, but the effect on the victim can be as severe. Examples of abuse include:
- Physical violence: pushing, hitting, slapping, kicking, beating, denying basic needs such as sleeping and eating
- Sexual Abuse: unwanted touching/kissing, forcing sex,
Verbal abuse: name calling, abusive language, gaslighting or blaming partner for abuse, threats to hurt or kill partner.
- Financial abuse: controlling how, when, and where money is spent; misusing, stealing, or extorting partner’s financial resources; preventing partner from working.
- Emotional abuse: extreme and controlling behavior, jealousy, or possessiveness; withholding approval or affection as a punishment; isolating partner from friends or family; threatening harm or suicide
- Technological abuse: controlling a partner’s social media; sending threatening messages, tweets, DMs; using spyware to stalk or monitor partner’s location; monitoring partner’s phone/texts/photos
Domestic violence does not discriminate. Victims can be both young and old, rich and poor, male or female, and people of all races, religions and sexual orientations. It can happen to couples who are married, living together, or dating.
Relationships are not easy, which can often make it hard to determine if you are experiencing relationship issues or abuse issues. There are warning signs that your relationship may be abusive. Does a loved one or caretaker…
- Make you feel uncomfortable or afraid?
- Often put you down, humiliate you, or make you feel worthless?
- Constantly check up on what you’re doing or where you are going?
- Try to stop you from seeing your own friends or family?
- Make you feel afraid to disagree or say ‘no’ to them?
- Undermine your parenting?
- Limit your access to money, necessities, and personal documents?
- Utilize technology to monitor or control your activities?
- Cause you to have frequent injuries resulting from “accidents”?
- Cause you to frequently and suddenly miss work or school, or cancel plans?
- Pressure or force you to do sexual things that you don’t want to do?
- Threaten to hurt you, or to kill themselves if you say you want to end the relationship?
If you answered “yes” to any of these, call our 24/7 resource line at 334-263-0218 and let us help you get your life back.
The signs of abuse are not always as obvious as you might think. Often, domestic abuse goes undetected because we just don’t know what to look for. Here are some red flags to keep an eye out for:
- Excuses for injuries
- Major personality changes (i.e. an outgoing person becoming withdrawn)
- Checks in often with their partner
- Never having money on hand
- Overly worried about pleasing their partner
- Misses work, school, or social activities for no clear reason
- Goes along with everything their partner says and does
It can be distressing when you suspect someone you care for is being hurt or abused by their partner. How do you respond? How can you help? Download Addressing Domestic Violence: A Guide for Friends and Family to find the tools you need to safely support someone who is struggling with abuse.
Like domestic violence, dating violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors such as physical abuse (hitting, slapping, destroying property, driving fast to scare you), emotional abuse (yelling, name-calling, put-downs, threats), sexual abuse (forcing or coercing sex, unwanted sex acts, exposure to pornography) and stalking (following, calling or texting repeatedly, monitoring activity), which can occur in person and/or online.
Everyone deserves a healthy, safe, and supportive relationship. If you are in a relationship that is hurting you, it is important for you to know that the abuse is not your fault. It is also important for you to start thinking of ways to keep yourself safe from the abuse.
Download our A Teen's Guide to Safety Planning to assist you in developing a safety plan. A safety plan is a practical guide that helps lower your risk of being hurt by your abuser.
1 in 15 children are exposed to domestic violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitness to the violence. The trauma from witnessing this violence can affect children throughout their entire lives.
- Children who witness or are victims of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse are at higher risk for health problems as adults. These can include mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. They may also include diabetes, obesity, heart disease, poor self-esteem, and other problems.
- Children who witness violence between parents may also be at greater risk of being violent in their future relationships.
We can help! The CARES (Children Advancing Through Recovery and Empowerment Services) Project provides counseling proven to effectively address symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, sexualized behaviors, and feelings of shame and mistrust often displayed in children exposed to trauma. Click here to learn more.
How can Family Sunshine Center help?
Do you feel unsafe now?
Our crisis advocates are available 24/7 to provide information, advocacy, and support. You can also call the police/911 if you feel unsafe and need immediate help.
Do you have a safe place to sleep?
Everyone deserves to have a safe place to sleep, eat, and live. We provide short-term, emergency, and safe shelter for anyone fleeing from domestic violence.
Do you want to talk to someone?
We provide the counseling and services you need to start your recovery. We want you to know that we believe you, we support you, and we will stand by your side every step of the way.