One in three women and one in four men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Anyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual identity or orientation, or socio-economic status, can become a victim of domestic violence and domestic violence comes in many forms.


Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is a powerful way that an abusive person gets and keeps their partner under control and it instills an environment of constant fear. Physical abuse may or may not be a part of an abusive relationship. If physical abuse is present early in the relationship, it commonly gets worse over time. If there is no physical abuse in the relationship, it may begin to occur when the victim is pregnant or when the victim considers leaving the relationship.

Physical violence may include: hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, strangling, smothering, using or threatening to use weapons, shoving, interrupting your sleep, throwing things, destroying property, hurting or killing pets, and denying medical treatment.

Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is common in abusive relationships, but often the least discussed. It can be subtle or overt. The impact on the victim is commonly feelings of shame and humiliation.

Sexual abuse may include: physically forcing sex, making you feel fearful about saying no to sex, forcing sex with other partners, forcing you to participate in demeaning or degrading sexual acts, violence or name calling during sex, and denying contraception or protection from sexually transmitted diseases.

Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse occurs in some form in all abusive relationships. It is an effective tactic used by abusers to obtain power and control and it can cause extreme damage to the victim’s self-esteem. Commonly, emotional abuse makes the victim feel like they are responsible for the abuse and to feel crazy, worthless and hopeless.

Emotional abuse can include: constant put downs or criticisms, name calling, “crazy making”, acting superior, minimizing the abuse or blaming you for their behavior, threatening and making you feel fearful, isolating you from family and friends, excessive jealously, accusing you of having affairs, and watching where you go and who you talk to.

Financial Abuse
This form of abuse is one of the least commonly known but one of the most powerful tactic of entrapping victims in the relationship. Many survivors of abuse describe it as the main reason that they stayed in an abusive relationship or returned to one.

Some forms of financial abuse include: giving you an allowance, not letting you have your own money, hiding family assets, running up debt, interfering with your job, and ruining your credit.

Resource: National Network to End Domestic Violence (

Power and Control Wheel

Illustrations of the power and control wheel and the post-separation power and control wheel are particularly helpful tools in understanding the overall pattern of abusive and violence behaviors used by abusers to establish and maintain control over their partners both within and following a relationship. (NCADV)

Download our Domestic Violence Realities flyer.


Domestic violence encompasses a spectrum of behaviors that abusers use to control victims. The following list compiled by NNEDV includes warning signs that someone may be abusive.

Warning signs include someone who:

  • Wants to move too quickly into the relationship.

  • “Love bombs” with excessive attention, admiration and affection.

  • Insists that you stop spending time with your friends or family.

  • Insists that you stop participating in hobbies or activities, quit school, or quit your job.

  • Does not honor your boundaries.

  • Is excessively jealous and accuses you of being unfaithful.

  • Wants to know where you are all of the time and frequently calls, emails, and texts you throughout the day.

  • Criticizes or puts you down.

  • Takes no responsibility for his or her behavior and blames others.

  • Has a history of abusing others.

  • Blames the entire failure of previous relationships on his or her former partner.

  • Takes your money or runs up your credit card debt.

  • Rages out of control with you but can maintain composure around others.

Abuse is never the fault of the victim and it can be hard for many reasons, including safety, to end the relationship. If you experience these “red flags,” you can contact us. If you believe someone you know is being abused, offer nonjudgmental support and help.


  • Approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. (The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, CDC)

  • On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. (The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, CDC)

  • Globally, about 1 in 3 women have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. (WHO)

  • About 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner (e.g., hit with a fist or something hard, beaten, slammed against something) at some point in their lifetime. (The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, CDC)

  • Domestic violence accounts for 21% of all violent crime. (Nonfatal Domestic Violence, 2003-2012, U.S. Department of Justice)
  • In a 24-hour survey, the National Network to End Domestic Violence found that U.S. domestic violence programs served over 70,000 victims and answered more than 20,000 crisis hotline calls in one day.

  • In the United States, an average of 3 women are killed each day by a current or former intimate partner. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-3004, 2006)

  • Every year, 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence. 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence. (Children’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence and Other Family Violence, U.S. Department of Justice)

  • Globally, as many as 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners. (WHO)