What is Abuse?

Abuse comes in many forms: verbal, emotional, mental, physical and sexual. Domestic violence is NOT a marital argument or a lover’s quarrel. In all cases, abuse is a pattern of behavior where people use POWER and CONTROL over their partners to get what they want. Some examples of abuse are:

Verbal Abuse: name calling, yelling, threatening, screaming, insults, swearing, sarcasm, humiliation, verbal intimidation.

Emotional/Mental Abuse: name-calling, constant criticizing, threatening, public humiliation, controlling behavior, extreme jealousy, destroying possessions or property, mind games, isolation, manipulation, punching walls, intimidation, stalking.

Physical Abuse: pushing, shoving, pinching, scratching, hitting, kicking, slapping, abandoning in a dangerous place.

Sexual Abuse: continuing to push for sex after being told “no,” unwanted or uncomfortable touching, calling someone sexually offensive names, forced sex.

Domestic violence isn’t limited to one type of family or one type of relationship. It knows no boundaries of profession, age, education, race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or nationality.

Ask yourself the following questions:

• Are you frightened by a partner’s temper? Does he/she threaten, criticize or humiliate you? Have you been pushed, shoved, punched, kicked or hit?

• Do you tend to make excuses for your partner’s abusive behavior? Do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around your partner to avoid his/her anger?

• Do you believe your partner’s behavior will change? Is he/she apologetic and “good” between physical or verbal outbursts?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, WomenShelter is here to help with 24-hour confidential, supportive services.

Violence doesn’t have to be a way of life. WomenShelter staff is available to help you understand your options and assist you in deciding which route is best for you and your children. There are counseling services, support groups, or a safe place to stay. Remember, a phone call is the first step to change.

Cycle of Abuse