What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern physically, sexually and/or emotionally abusive behaviors used by one individual to maintain power over or to control a partner in the context of an intimate or family relationship.

Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.  This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.  The Power & Control Wheel takes a deeper look at these behaviors and helps to identify some of the tactics used by abusers to maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender.  Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are/were married, living together, or dating.

While batterers would like for us to believe that abuse is about stress or alcohol and other drugs, we know that abuse is really about power and the desire to control one’s partner.

The following are some warning signs that you may be in an abusive relationship.

Does your partner:

  • Verbally insult, demean or threaten you?
  • Isolate you from friends, family or other people?
  • Organize schedules to follow or harass you?
  • Limit your mobility or access to money?
  • Explode into a rage and assault you physically or sexually?
  • Negate your words, abilities, ideas and actions?
  • Choke, punch, slap, kick or otherwise hurt you?
  • Excuse each attack and promise to stop?

If this sounds familiar, you could be the victim in an abusive relationship.  You are not alone, and you are not to blame.

The Relationship Bill of Rights reminds us that all relationships should be built on love, respect, and equality.

Whether you need someone to talk to, information, support, or a safe place to stay, there are people at the Shelter for Help in Emergency who will listen and can help.  People who will believe you, and who know that no one ever deserves to be abused.

For more information, please click on the following link: The Cycle of Violence

If you are in need of assistance, please call our 24-hour hotline at:

(434) 293-8509  V/TTY.

If this is an emergency, please call 911.

Si esto es una emergencia, llama por favor 911.