Domestic violence is America’s hidden war. And the battleground is in all our homes
— Michelle Bussolotti
What is domestic violence?
In the United States, nearly 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men report experiencing domestic violence at some point in their lives. In addition, 1 in 15 children are exposed to domestic violence. Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that includes the use or threat of violence and intimidation for the purpose of gaining power and control over another person. Domestic violence is characterized by: Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Economic Abuse, Isolation, Emotional Abuse, Control, or Verbal Abuse.
Here are some warning signs that you may be in an abusive relationship:
- Verbal Abuse – Coercion, Threats and Blaming: threatening to hurt or kill you, your children or pets, name calling, yelling or telling you that are unattractive or undesirable.
- Intimidation: making you afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things, destroying property, abusing pets or displaying weapons.
- Emotional Abuse: putting you down, making you feel bad about yourself, calling you names, making you think you’re crazy, playing mind games, humiliating you or making you feel guilty.
- Economic Abuse: preventing you from getting or keeping a job, making you ask for money, giving you an allowance, taking your money, or not letting you know about or have access to family income.
- Isolation: controlling what you do, who you see or talk to, what you read, where you go, limiting your outside involvement or using jealousy to justify actions.
- Using Children: making you feel guilty about the children, using children to relay messages, using visitation to harass you, threatening to take the children away.
- Minimizing, Denying and Blaming: making light of abuse and not taking your concerns about it seriously, saying abuse didn’t happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior or saying you caused it.