Relationship Violence Knowing the Difference Between "Just a Fight" and Abuse
The term "relationship violence" refers to verbal, written, physical, or other acts of violence, threat, or intimidation directed by an individual at another individual with whom the aggressor is involved in an intimate relationship. (An intimate relationship may be of a romantic, sexual, marital, or family nature.) The physical violence, threat, or intimidation may occur at differing intervals, may involve one or more parties to an intimate relationship, and may include varying degrees of aggression.
Signs of Relationship Violence
Relationship Violence can include any of the following behaviors or abuse, or a combination of them.
Verbal and emotional abuse:
What Defines Relationship Violence?
Does violence occur in same-sex relationships?
Yes. In fact, statistics show that same-sex relationship violence is as common as heterosexual relationship violence. The elements of abusive relationships are similar for heterosexual and homosexual couples.
Are men ever abused by their female partners?
Yes, men can be-and are-abused by their girlfriends and/or wives. However, data from domestic violence programs indicate that 95 percent of domestic violence is perpetrated by men against women.
Helping a Friend
The Cycle of Violence
For more information, click here to view the Cycle of Violence.
You Have the Right...
The Dating Bill of Rights
Click here to view and print The Dating Bill of Rights
When you're ready to leave...
You do have a choice to leave. The danger of leaving an abusive situation is real. Here are some ways to carefully plan and prepare a safe exit should you choose to leave:
For more information, local resources and help, click here.
Violent Relationships vs. Non-Violent Relationships
|Violent Relationship Based on Power and Control||
Non-Violent Relationship Based on Mutuality and Respect
|Emotional Abuse: Putting the other person down or making him or her feel bad. Using mind games; making the other person feel crazy.||
Negotiation and Fairness: Seeking mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict, accepting change, and being willing to compromise.
|Isolation: Controlling what the partner does, where she/he goes and who the partner sees.||
Non-Threatening Behavior: Talking and acting in a way that the partner feels safe and comfortable expressing her or himself and doing things.
|Intimidation: Using looks, actions, gestures that instill fear (e.g., using a loud voice, smashing things, destroying property).||Respect: Listening to the partner non-judgmentally. Being emotionally affirming and understanding, and valuing each others' opinions.|
|Economic Abuse: Trying to keep the partner from being financially independent, from getting or keeping a job. Making the partner ask for money, taking the partner's money, and/or giving the partner an allowance.||Economic Partnership: Making financial decisions together and making sure that both partners benefit from financial arrangements.|
|Using Children: Making the partner feel guilty about the children, using the children to relay messages, using visitation as a harassment tool.||Responsible Parenting: Sharing parental responsibilities and being a positive, non-violent role model for the children.|
|Making Threats: Making or carrying out threats to do something to harm the partner, e.g., threatening to commit suicide, threatening to take the children.||Honesty and Accountability: Accepting responsibility for one's behavior, acknowledging any past use of violence, admitting being wrong, communicating openly and truthfully.|
|Using "Power-Over": Treating the partner like a servant. Making all the "big" decisions. Acting like the "King/Queen of the castle."||Shared Responsibility: Mutually agreeing on a fair distribution of work, and making family decisions together.|
|Sexual Abuse: Making the partner be sexual in ways the partner doesn't want. Treating the other person like a sex object.||Trust and Support: Supporting the partner's goals in life and respecting the partner's right to his or her own feelings, activities, and opinions.|