DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive.

In fact, many abusive partners may seem absolutely perfect in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partners.

If you’re beginning to feel as if your partner or a loved one’s partner is becoming abusive, there are a few behaviors that you can look out for. Watch out for these red flags and if you’re experiencing one or more of them in your relationship, call or chat online with an advocate to talk about what’s going on.

      • Telling you that you can never do anything right
      • Showing jealousy of your friends and time spent away
      • Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing friends or family members
      • Insulting, demeaning or shaming you with put-downs
      • Controlling every penny spent in the household
      • Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
      • Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
      • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
      • Preventing you from making your own decisions
      • Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
      • Preventing you from working or attending school
      • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
      • Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
      • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
      • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol

What Is Abuse?

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.

Abuse is a repetitive pattern of behaviors to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. These are behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. Abuse includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of abuse can be going on at any one time.

Here at The Hotline, we use the Power & Control Wheel to describe most accurately what occurs in an abusive relationship.

Think of the wheel as a diagram of the tactics your abusive partner uses to keep you in the relationship. While the inside of the wheel is comprised of subtle, continual behaviors, the outer ring represents physical, visible violence. These are the abusive acts that are more overt and forceful, and often the intense acts that reinforce the regular use of other subtler methods of abuse.

Power and Control Wheel

Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
202 East Superior Street, Duluth, MN, 55802
218-722-2781

Physical Abuse
Emotional Abuse
Sexual Abuse & Coercion
Reproductive Coercion
Financial Abuse
Digital Abuse

You may be experiencing physical abuse if your partner has done or repeatedly does any of the following tactics of abuse:

    • Pulling your hair, punching, slapping, kicking, biting or choking you
    • Forbidding you from eating or sleeping
    • Hurting you with weapons
    • Preventing you from calling the police or seeking medical attention
    • Harming your children
    • Abandoning you in unfamiliar places
    • Driving recklessly or dangerously when you are in the car with them
    • Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol (especially if you’ve had a substan