When people think of domestic violence, they typically picture a violent man hitting a woman - but domestic violence has many faces. Men, women and children can be victims of domestic violence.
One in four women and one in seven men experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.
Physical abuse includes hitting, slapping, and shoving, biting or other physical harm. Domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse but also includes sexual abuse, emotional abuse or financial abuse. Any time one person has power and control over some else abuse is at play.
For six years, Dana’s abusive boyfriend treated her like a prisoner and used her children as leverage to keep her compliant. Her abuse was extensive and involved threats to both her life and that of her children. She managed to escape with only the clothes they were wearing to get help.
Warning Signs of Domestic Violence
This is not an exhaustive list but includes some of the warning signs of domestic violence that go beyond physical violence.
Abusers may threaten to hurt you, family members, friends or even pets. They may also threaten to hurt themselves. Threats can also include withholding money, access to food, communication/phone or to take away children.
Abusers use intimidation to control others through fear. This could include destroying property, showing of weapons, mind games or by using frightening faces, gestures or actions.
Beyond physical control, abusers may control finances including access to money or ability to work, access or family or friends and the ability to come and go. This includes emotional or psychological abuse using guilt, humiliation or put downs to make you feel unable to survive without the abuser.
The most dangerous time for a person being abused is when they decide to leave. “If the abuser even senses the other person is about to leave, they will go to dangerous lengths to stop it,” said Sheryl Christianson, senior programs manager at My Sisters' Place, a Catholic Charities domestic violence shelter.
If you believe you are in an abusive relationship, our staff is available to talk with you 24-hours a day at 480-821-1024. We can help you leave your abuser and find a safe place for you, your children and pets. We provide emergency shelter, safety planning, counseling, job skills and other services for free.
Making that call is the first step to becoming a survivor.
If you are not in an abusive relationship, but you would like to help survivors, when you partner with us you help women and men escape domestic violence and start their lives over. A one time or a monthly gift provides a miracle for domestic violence survivor to find safety, compassion and help.