What is Domestic violence?
Domestic violence is often mistaken as someone losing their temper or mutual fighting in a relationship. Domestic violence is NOT about getting angry or arguing – but it IS about power and control. It is a pattern of harmful behavior by one person intended to control another person within a romantic, intimate or family/household member relationship. People who experience domestic violence can be married or not married; heterosexual, gay or lesbian; living together, separated or dating; or relatives. Men, women and children of all ages, races and classes can be victims. Without intervention, domestic violence can get worse, and could end in death.
Forms of domestic Violence
Domestic violence can take many forms, some of which are illegal. It can happen all the time or once in a while. Some forms of domestic violence are:
Emotional or Verbal
Examples of emotional abuse can include insults, blaming, put downs, mind games and threats. Emotional abuse can be unpredictable, affect self-esteem, and make you doubt your own sense of reality.
Examples include isolating you from family and friends; controlling your money; keeping you from getting a job or going to school; controlling or monitoring what you do and where you go; or destroying your property.
Physical abuse is any hurtful, intimidating or offensive touching or contact. It can involve grabbing, pushing, shoving or hitting, and could escalate to more serious injuries or death.
Sexual abuse can involve degrading comments; unwanted touching; or harmful, forced sex.
In Washington State, it is illegal for your partner to hurt you physically, force you to have sex, threaten to hurt or kill you or your children, or destroy your property.