What is Domestic Violence?

The following are some signs of abuse to be aware of in a relationship. Recognizing the signs could help you stay safe.

Someone who is abusive may:

  • Act jealous or possessive and say it is out of love.
  • Blame you for their behavior, saying "you're making me do this to you."
  • Destroy or threaten to destroy your things.
  • Threaten to hurt you, themselves, your family members, your friends, or your pets.
  • Touch you in a way that hurts or scares you, or in any way that you do not want to be touched.
  • Force sex or sexual acts in ways or at times that are not comfortable for you.
  • Threaten to report you to immigration or to destroy your papers.
  • Get angry unpredictably or in a way that scares you.
  • Blame you, others, alcohol, stress, depression, etc., for their violent behavior.
  • Belittle or make fun of your concerns and fears about your relationship.
  • Threaten to "out" you to family, friends or work.
  • Act differently in public than in private.
  • Isolate you by making it difficult or impossible to be with your family or friends.
  • Threaten to take your children and claim you won't see them again.
  • Make promises to change but does not follow through.

Some behaviors are especially dangerous:

  • Threatening to kill you or themselves, especially if the abuser has access to weapons
  • Strangling, choking
  • Stalking
  • Controlling most or all of your activities

If you recognize abusive behaviors in your partner, you are encouraged to seek assistance and support from the domestic violence agencies listed in the Support Agencies section.