Domestic violence is the use of physical, sexual, threatening or emotional force to frighten, intimidate and control an intimate partner. Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior that occurs over time. This abuse often escalates and may become worse with time.
Abusive partners use combinations of behavior to control a survivor. Even if you have never experienced physical harm by a partner, but are afraid and controlled by your partner’s actions (shouting, throwing things or threats), you are being abused.
This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.
It’s Not Your Fault
“Abused” describes what has happened to you – not who you are. This term tends to imply that someone in an abusive relationship is a victim, weak or helpless. The truth is that many people in abusive relationships have great inner strength and are often there for others, including children. No matter what a controlling or abusive partner tells you (“If you had done this right, I would not have hurt you”), being abused is not your fault- the abuser is responsible. Partner violence is not acceptable and it is not something you have to deal with alone. Whether you have limited finances, no family or friends to whom you can turn to for help, are afraid for your safety or simply think you could never make it “on your own,” Women Helping Women can help.
- 1 in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
- 1.3 million women are survivors of domestic violence each year.
- 85% of domestic violence survivors are women.
- Sexual assault or forced sex occurs in approximately 40-45% of abusive relationships.
What You Can Do
You have several choices. You can:
- Contact a crisis center or shelter for information and support.
- Attend a domestic violence survivor support group.
- Seek counseling.
- Go to a shelter or stay with family or friends.
- Take legal action.
Information about all of these options is available by calling Women Helping Women at our 24-Hour Crisis Line at 513-381-5610, Toll-Free 1-877-889-5610 or TTY 513-977-5545.
Do you think your relationship may be abusive? Take the domestic violence quiz.
If you or someone you know is currently in an abusive relationship, click here for resources and support.
Women Helping Women works with thousands of community members and professionals every year to educate and prevent domestic violence. If you would like to learn more about our programs, or schedule a program, visit our Prevention and Education page.