What Constitutes Abuse?
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners.
Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or verbal. It occurs in the form of actions or threats meant to control another person - and it includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone. Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels and it can happen to those who are married, living together, or simply dating.
Understanding Domestic Abuse is the First Step toward a Better Life. In Fact, it could Save Your Life.
Are You in an Abusive and Potentially Violent Relationship?
- Are you feeling threatened by your partner?
- Does your partner call you names, swear at you, put you down or control your activities?
- Has your partner hit, slapped, kicked, punched or pushed you?
- Do you feel that you deserve more respect than you are getting?
Answering the following questions will help you determine whether your relationship is abusive or becoming abusive.
Does Your Partner:
- Embarrass you in front of others?
- Belittle your accomplishments?
- Make you feel unworthy?
- Constantly contradict themselves to confuse you?
- Do things for which you are constantly making excuses to others, or yourself?
- Isolate you from many of the people you care most about?
- Make you feel ashamed most of the time?
- Make you believe they are smarter than you and therefore, more able to make decisions?
- Make you perform acts that are demeaning to you?
- Use intimidation to make you do what they wants?
- Prevent you from going or doing common activities such as shopping, visiting friends and family, and talking to the opposite sex?
- Control the financial aspects of your life?
- Use money as a way of controlling you?
- Make you believe that you cannot exist without them?
- Make you feel there is no way out?
- Make you find ways of compromising your feelings for the sake of peace?
- Treat you roughly, grab, pinch, push, or shove you?
- Threaten you verbally or with a weapon?
- Hold you to keep you from leaving during or after an argument?
- Lose control when they use alcohol or other substances?
- Get angry frequently without an apparent cause?
- Allow anger to escalate into violence?
- Not believe that they hurt you or not feel sorry for what has happened?
- Physically force you to do things you don't want to?
- Believe you can help your partner to change the abusive behavior if you were only to change yourself?
- Find that not making them angry has become a major part of your life?
- Do what they wants you to do out of fear rather than what you want to do?
- Stay with them only because you fear they will hurt you if you leave or tell someone?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, you may be in abusive relationship. Help, support and information are available to you through the DVCAC. Please, call our confidential 24-hour HelpLine at 216-391-HELP (4357). You are not alone.
Although the majority of victims of domestic violence are females, men can be victims of domestic violence too. Women accounted for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence, men for approximately 15%. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003)
Men and boys are less likely to report violence and seek services due to the following challenges:
- Stigma of being a male victim
- Perceived failure to conform to the macho stereotype
- Fear of not being believed
- Denial of victim status
- Lack of support from society, family members, and friends
(FORGE: For Ourselves: Reworking Gender Expression. Accessed July 2007)
One out of 14 men has been physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, boyfriend/girlfriend or date at some point in their lives. (Thoennes, N., & Tjaden, P., 2000)
You can help stop domestic violence and child abuse.