Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, gender, socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. It can happen to individuals who are living together, married, or who are dating.

It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive. In fact, many abusive partners may seem absolutely perfect in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partners.

Here are some behaviors to look out for:

You may be experiencing physical abuse if your partner:

  • Pulls your hair, punches, slaps, kicks, bites or chokes you
  • Forbids you from eating or sleeping
  • Hurts or intimidates you with weapons
  • Prevents you from calling the police or seeking medical attention
  • Harms your children or pets
  • Abandons you in unfamiliar places
  • Drives recklessly or dangerously when you are in the car with them
  • Destroys your property
  • Pressures or forces you to have sex
  • Forces you to use drugs or alcohol (especially if you’ve had a substance abuse problem in the past)

You may be experiencing emotional/mental abuse if your partner:

  • Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you
  • Refuses to trust you and acts jealous or possessive
  • Tries to isolate you from family or friends
  • Monitors where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
  • Demands to know where you are every minute
  • Traps you in your home or prevents you from leaving
  • Punishes you by withholding affection
  • Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets
  • Humiliates you in any way
  • Blames you for the abuse
  • Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships
  • Attempts to control your appearance: what you wear, how much/little makeup you wear, etc.
  • Tells you that you will never find anyone better, or that you are lucky to be with a person like them

You may be experiencing sexual abuse or coercion if your partner:

  • Forces you to dress in a sexual way
  • Pressures, forces or manipulates you into to having sex or performing sexual acts
  • Holds you down during sex
  • Demands sex when you’re sick, tired or after hurting you
  • Hurts you with weapons or objects during sex
  • Involves other people in sexual activities with you against your will
  • Ignoring your feelings regarding sex
  • Purposely tries to pass on a sexually transmitted disease to you
  • Makes you feel like you owe them sex
  • Gives you drugs and alcohol to “loosen up” your inhibitions
  • Refuses to use birth control methods (refuses to wear a condom, pull out, or not letting you use birth control)
  • Sabotages birth control methods (poking holes in condoms, tampering with pills or flushing them down the toilet)
  • Forces pregnancy or refuses to support your decision about when or if you want to have a child
  • Forces you to get an abortion or prevents you from getting one

You may be experiencing economic or financial abuse if your partner:

  • Gives an allowance and closely watches how you spend it or demands receipts for purchases
  • Places your paycheck in their bank account and denies you access to it
  • Prevents you from viewing or having access to bank accounts
  • Forbids you to work or limits the hours that you can work
  • Maxes out credit cards in your name without permission or not paying the bills on credit cards, which could ruin your credit score
  • Steals money from you or your family and friends
  • Uses funds from children’s savings accounts without your permission
  • Lives in your home but refuses to work or contribute to the household
  • Makes you give them your tax returns or confiscates joint tax returns
  • Refuses to give you money to pay for necessities/shared expenses like food, clothing, transportation, or medical care and medicine

You may be experiencing digital abuse if your partner:

  • Tells you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook and other sites.
  • Sends you negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, DMs or other messages online.
  • Uses sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others to keep constant tabs on you.
  • Puts you down in their status updates.
  • Sends you unwanted, explicit pictures and demands you send some in return.
  • Steals or insists to be given your passwords.
  • Constantly texts you and makes you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished.
  • Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.
  • Tags you unkindly in pictures on Instagram, Tumblr, etc.

For more information, visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence at or the National Network to End Domestic Violence at

For local resources and support, call our crisis helpline at 989-755-0411 or toll-free at 888-399-8385