Are you being abused?
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior in which one person attempts to control another through threats or actual use of physical violence, sexual assault, and verbal or psychological abuse.
Who does abuse happen to?
Anyone can be a victim of abuse, no matter their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, education or income level. Everyone deserves to be safe in their relationship.
- 1 in 4 women in the United States report experiencing some form of violence at the hands of an intimate partner at some point in her life. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008)
How does abuse happen?
People who abuse their partners are seeking control over them. The tactics used to maintain that control may take many forms, including the following:
- Physical violence - Every year, over 7,000 Maine women are physically or sexually assaulted by an intimate partner and over half of them (57%) are injured as a result of the violence. (Maine CDC 2008)
- Threats - This may include anything from threats of physical violence to threats to report a parent to Child Protective Services or threats to commit suicide. The intention is to make the victim too fearful to leave.
- Intimidation - Certain looks, phrases or gestures may be used to scare someone into compliance.
- Isolation - An abuser will often try to prevent their partner from having contact with friends, family, and other social supports. By isolating their partner they make them more dependent on them.
- Financial - The abuser will frequently control all of the financial assets. They may prevent their partner from working outside of the home or may control their income, giving them an allowance, preventing them access to credit cards and accounts.
- Using the Children - The abuser may threaten their partner that they'll never get custody of the children if they leave, may threaten to harm or take the children, or may try to manipulate the children to take sides against the other parent.
- Minimizing and Blaming - Abuser frequently try to avoid accountability for their actions by minimizing the abuse or turning it around on their partner, e.g. "It wasn't that bad," "I wouldn't have hit you if you'd just been quiet," "I only did what I did because you pushed my buttons."
Does your partner do any of the following?
- Call or text you all the time
- Tell you who you can, and can't, see
- Tell you what to wear
- Call you names
- Put you down
- Discourage you from doing things on your own
- Make you feel guilty for spending time with other people
- Threaten to hurt you or friends and family
- Abuse your pets
- Get jealous when you are in the company of the opposite sex
- Try to prevent you from working or going to school
- Control all of the money that comes in
- Pressure you to do things that you do not want to do
- Control your access to transportation, including the family car
- Show up at you workplace or school and cause a scene in front of other people
- Repeatedly make promises that it will never happen again
- Belittle your parenting skills in front of your children
- Try to turn your children against you
- Make you feel like everything is your fault when arguments happen
- Make you feel like you can't do anything right
- Minimize your feelings and not listen to you
- Make you feel crazy by questioning your version of events and saying things happened differently than you remember