What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abusive behavior used by one individual to assert power or maintain control over another in the context of an intimate or family relationship.
Early Signs of Abuse:
- Quick whirlwind romance
- Wanting to be with you all the time, tracking what you’re doing and who you’re with
- Jealousy at any perceived attention to or from others
- Attempts to isolate you in the guise of loving behavior
- Hypersensitivity to perceived slights
- Quick to blame others for the abuse
- Pressures you into doing things that you aren’t comfortable with
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- Are you ever afraid of your partner?
- Has your partner ever physically hurt or threatened to hurt you or someone you care about, including pets?
- Does your partner ever force you to engage in sexual activities that make you uncomfortable?
- Does your partner call you names, insult or criticize you?
- Does your partner destroy your property, such as punching holes in the wall, damaging items that are meaningful to you, or throwing things at/near you?
- Does your partner prohibit you from using or mess with your birth control? Has your partner forced you to use a certain kind of birth control or have an abortion when you didn’t want to?
- Do you constantly worry about your partner’s moods and change your behavior to deal with them?
- Does an ex-partner refuse to accept that the relationship is over?
- Does your partner try to control where you go, what you do and who you see?
- Does your partner constantly accuse you of having affairs?
- Have you stopped seeing family or friends to avoid your partner’s jealousy or anger?
- Does your partner control your finances?
- Does he/she threaten to kill him/herself if you leave?
- Does your partner claim his/her temper is out of control due to alcohol, drugs or because he/she had an abusive childhood?
If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, you could be suffering abuse. Remember that you are not to blame and you do not need to face domestic violence alone.
You are NOT alone!
Nearly 25% of women have been raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner during their lives.
One in five teenagers has experience violence in a dating relationship.
15.4% of gay men, 11.4% of lesbians and 7.7% of heterosexual men, are assaulted by a date or intimate partner during their lives.
More than 1 million women and 371,000 men are stalked by their partners each year.
(According to a National Violence Against Women Survey)
What can you do if you are Being Abused?
- Talk with someone you trust: a friend or relative, a neighbor, coworker or religious or spiritual advisor.
- Tell your physician, nurse, psychiatrist or therapist about the abuse
- Take threats seriously.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, you probably are.
- Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE), the Shelter for Help in Emergency, or the Victim/Witness office.
- Call the police if you are in danger.
- Tell your friends, family members, and others about the abuse and seek their support. Ask them to watch out for you.
- Develop a safety plan (See our Safety Planning page for more information)
- Remember, you know your situation better than anyone else. Don’t let somebody talk you into doing something that isn’t right for you.
WARNING: Abusers try to control their victims’ lives. When abusers feel a loss of control – like when the victims try to leave them – the abuse often gets worse. Take special care if you leave. Continue to be careful, even after you have left.
Shelter for Help in Emergency: 24-hour Hotline (434) 293-8509 http://www.shelterforhelpinemergency.org
Charlottesville Victim/Witness: (434) 970-3176 www.charlottesville.org/victimwitness
Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline: 1 (800) 838-8238 http://www.vsdvalliance.org