Understanding Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.

Warning signs of Domestic Violence:

  • Extreme jealousy
  • Possessiveness
  • Unpredictability
  • A bad temper
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Verbal abuse
  • Extremely controlling behavior
  • Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships
  • Forced sex or disregard of their partner's unwillingness to have sex
  • Sabotage of birth control methods or refusal to honor agreed upon methods
  • Blaming the victim for anything bad that happens
  • Sabotage or obstruction of the victim's ability to work or attend school
  • Controls all the finances
  • Abuse of other family members, children or pets
  • Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair
  • Control of what the victim wears and how they act
  • Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly
  • Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others
  • Harassment of the victim at work

power and control

Power and control methods are what abusers use to gain and maintain control of their partner.  These methods can be physical, emotional, verbal, financial and other forms of abuse.

cycle of abuse

  • Tension building phase: Anger, breakdown of communication, feeling of “walking on eggshells”, intimidation, threats, etc.
  • Violation or Violence: Includes physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse.
  • Seduction or honeymoon phase:  After a violent episode, the abuser may act differently, blame their anger on you, act genuinely sorry, make promises, buy presents, help more, seek pity, etc.


Effects of Trauma

What is Trauma?

An experience or situation that is emotionally distressing or disturbing.


Bruises, black eyes, internal damage, sprained or broken bones, soreness, headaches.


PTSD, depression, dissociation, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty concentrating

In children

Behavior problems, anxiety, depression, nightmares, difficulty concentrating, poor school performance