Relationship violence, also referred to as domestic violence, intimate partner violence or abuse, is when one person in an ongoing relationship uses a variety of tactics to control another. These tactics include:
- Physical abuse
- Stalking behaviors
- Emotional or verbal abuse
- Financial control/abuse
- Technology Enabled Abuse
- Academic abuse
- Sexual abuse or sexual coercion
- Reproductive coercion
These tactics often result in convincing the survivor that the abuse is their fault, silencing the survivor, and keeping the survivor trapped in the relationship. These controlling and abusive tactics can go on without anyone else knowing it, or the abuse could take place in front of others. Typically, the abuser appears to be charming and concerned for the survivor’s well-being in front of others.
The Power and Control Wheel is a commonly used tool to explain tactics of abuse. Click to view the Power and Control Wheel Gallery.
For information and resources specific to LGBTQIA2S+ identified folks, visit Relationship Violence in LGBTQIA2S+ Relationships.
Wondering if you are experiencing relationship violence?
Does your partner…
- Try to keep you away from the people you care about most or from friends you had before you began dating?
- Embarrass you or make fun of you in front of other people?
- Make you feel afraid, or use threats to make you do what he/she wants?
- Accuse you of having affairs and/or wanting to date other people?
- Make you feel there is “no way out” of the relationship?
- Make you perform sexual acts that you don’t enjoy or touch you against your will?
- Threaten you with force, words, or weapons?
- Use alcohol or drugs as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
- Get really angry a lot, and you don’t know why – but you feel like you are “walking on eggshells” all the time?
- Not believe they have hurt you, or blame you for what they have done?
- Physically force you or hurt you to make you do things that you don’t want to do?
- Threaten to hurt themselves, you, a pet, or people you love if you end the relationship?
- Tell you that you are stupid, ugly, or unwanted, or put you down in other ways?
- Tell you that if only you did things differently or better, they wouldn’t have to hurt you?
- Monitor your computer or phone use?
- Use children to keep you in the relationship?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be experiencing abuse in your relationship. Safe Place can help you talk through your experience, explore options and support you in any decisions you choose to make.