Friday, July 15, 2011

When Does Abuse Start?

I recently had someone ask me if abuse starts the first time a person gets hit.

I appreciated the person asking me that question, and I also thought it might be good to highlight some of the warning signs of abusive relationships. It is also important to point out that relationships can be abusive and a person can never get hit at all. 

So what IS domestic violence?  Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in a relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

This quiz "Am I Being Abused?" is from the website of the National Domestic Violence Hotline - which is full of great information and resources.

Does your partner:

  • Embarrass you with put-downs?
  • Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
  • Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
  • Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
  • Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
  • Make all of the decisions?
  • Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
  • Prevent you from working or attending school?
  • Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it?
  • Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
  • Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
  • Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?
  • Force you to try and drop charges?
  • Threaten to commit suicide?
  • Threaten to kill you?


If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions,
you may be in an abusive relationship.

For support and more information please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or at TTY 1-800-787-3224.  You can also visit their website at

And remember - no question is silly or "not worth asking" when it comes to healthy and unhealthy relationships....if you wonder, please ask someone you trust. 

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