Domestic violence 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 and can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, gender, or socioeconomic background. Domestic violence is not limited to couples who are married. Couples who are living together or who are dating can also experience domestic violence.
Domestic violence isn’t present in the same ways in every relationship. Every relationship is different, and every abusive partner will exhibit abusive behaviors in different ways. However, in most abusive relationships, the abusive partner engages in multiple different behaviors to have more power and control over their partner.
How to Help
It is important to talk to the victim in a private, safe spot. The goal is to help them realize the power and control they have to make good decisions in order to empower them to make the decision of leaving the situation on their own. That makes it important to voice your concern without any judgement. One way to do so is to use “I” statements to communicate and avoid focusing on how terrible the relationship/abuser is or why they are with the abuser. Regardless of what the victim decides, it is important to be encouraging and to let the victim know you are there for them whenever they need you.
When You Should Call
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and/or exhibiting any of the following warning signs, the Arkansas Crisis Center is here for you to provide emotional support and resources in your area. If someone is in immediate danger or you are unable to connect, please dial 9-1-1.
- Tells you that you can never do anything right.
- Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away.
- Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members.
- Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs.
- Controls every penny spent in the household.
- Takes your money or refuses to give you money for necessary expenses.
- Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you.
- Controls who you see, where you go or what you do.
- Prevents you from making your own decisions.
- Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm/take away your children.
- Prevents you from working or attending school.
- Destroys your property or threatens to hurt/kill your pets.
- Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons.
- Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with.
- Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol.