What Is Domestic Violence?

A pattern of abusive behavior in an intimate or romantic relationship where one person chooses to control the relationship through the use of force, intimidation or fear.

The abusive behavior can be physical, verbal, emotional or sexual. Sometimes it's subtle, and sometimes it's extreme. Without help, the abusive behavior usually gets worse.

Domestic violence can happen to adults and it can also happen to teenagers. Both males and females can be perpetrators or targets of abuse. It can happen in either straight or same-sex relationships.

There is nothing that you can do or say to deserve being abused. The abuse is never your fault. Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy relationship.

In order to protect yourself, you should know the warnings signs of an abusive relationship.

What Are the Warning Signs?

  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Constant put-downs
  • Possessiveness or treating you like property
  • Telling you what to do
  • Constantly checking in on you
  • Explosive temper
  • Making false accusations
  • Isolating you from your friends and family
  • Preventing you from doing things you want to do

Domestic violence isn't just an argument every once in a while.  Domestic violence describes an ongoing pattern of abusive behavior when one person chooses to control the relationship through force, fear, pressure or intimidation.

That romantic relationship can be between two people who are married, divorced, living together, dating, with kids, without kids. It can be between teenagers, young people, adults, the elderly, between a man and woman, two women, two men, two people from any race, culture, nationality, religion, and from any neighborhood, economic status or educational level...  Domestic violence can affect anyone.

The abusive behavior can be physical, verbal/emotional or sexual.

It is important to understand that people commit domestic violence because they choose to do so, not because they can't stop themselves. Abusing someone is a choice.