What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is purposeful and intentional behavior.  The perpetrator's abusive acts are done to achieve compliance from or control over the victim.  Many people assume that domestic includes only physical types of violence; in actuality, perpetrators use many different controlling actions to achieve power over the victim.  These include physical, emotional, and sexual forms of abuse.  Please see our Planning to Leave page for information on safety planning and what to take when leaving an abusive situation.

Examples of Domestic Violence

 Using Physical Force involves hurting or trying to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, burning, grabbing, pinching, shoving, slapping, hair-pulling, biting, denying medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use, or using other physical force. You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner:

  • Damages property when angry (throws objects, punches walls, kicks doors, etc.).
  • Pushes, slaps, bites, kicks or chokes you.
  • Abandons you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.
  • Scares you by driving recklessly.
  • Uses a weapon to threaten or hurt you.
  • Forces you to leave your home.
  • Traps you in your home or keeps you from leaving.
  • Prevents you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
  • Hurts your children.
  • Uses physical force in sexual situations.

Using Sexual Violence involves forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent. You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner:

  • Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
  • Wants you to dress in a sexual way.
  • Insults you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names.
  • Has ever forced or manipulated you into having sex or performing sexual acts.
  • Holds you down during sex.
  • Demands sex when you are sick, tired or after beating you.
  • Hurts you with weapons or objects during sex.
  • Involves other people in sexual activities with you.
  • Ignores your feelings regarding sex.

  Using Coercion and Threats:

  • Making and/or carrying out threats to hurt the victim
  • Threatening to leave, commit suicide

  Using Intimidation:

  • Making the victim afraid by using looks or actions
  • Smashing things, destroying property, harming pets

  Using Emotional Abuse includes undermining a person's sense of self-worth through constant criticism; belittling one's abilities; name-calling or other verbal abuse; damaging a partner's relationship with the children; or not letting a partner see friends and family. You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:

  • Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you.
  • Does not trust you and acts in a jealous or possessive manner.
  • Tries to isolate you from family or friends.
  • Monitors where you go, whom you call and with whom you spend your time.
  • Does not want you to work.
  • Controls finances or refuses to share money.
  • Punishes you by withholding affection.
  • Expects you to ask permission.
  • Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets.
  • Humiliates you in any way.

  Psychological abuse: involves causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner or children; destruction of pets and property; “mind games”; or forcing isolation from friends, family, school and/or work.

  • Using Isolation:
    • Controlling what the victim does and who they see
  •   Minimizing, Denying, and Blaming:
    • Making light of the abuse
    • Saying the victim caused the abuse
  •   Using Children:
    • Threatening to take the children away
    • Using visitation to harass or gain access to the victim

 Financial or economic abuse: involves making or attempting to make a person financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding access to money, and/or forbidding attendance at school or employment.

(Source: Developed by Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Duluth, MN, https://www.theduluthmodel.org/)


If You Are Abused:

  • Plan ahead by developing a protection plan.
  • Talk to a supportive friend or relative about what is happening, don't keep silent about being abused.
  • Talk with staff or advocates at the Domestic Violence Crisis Center.
  • Call your local police or sheriff's department (911).
  • Your first priority is to take care of yourself and your children.
  •  No one deserves to be abused and you are not responsible for the abusive behavior.

If Someone You Know is Being Abused:

  • You may be the first person the victim has talked to.  It is important to listen and believe what is said.
  • Be non-judgmental.  Each person has her/his own reasons for staying in the situation and may not want your help at this time.
  • Be supportive of whatever course of action should she/he choose to take.
  • Allow time for expression of emotions.
  • Help explore alternatives.
  • Inform them about services that are available.  Give information about our program or other helping agencies.

Domestic Violence Support Group

Purpose for Domestic Violence Support Group

  • Allow survivors to connect with other survivors and reduce isolation.
  • Help survivors feel more empowered, valued and confident.
  • Provide validation, increased self-esteem and coping tools to help survivors make changes to their lives.
  • Offer survivors hope and the opportunity to decrease feelings of stigma and shame.

Please contact the DVCC office at 701.852.2258 for current meeting schedules.