Domestic violence is not an isolated, single event but rather a pattern of repeated behaviors and actions. Assaults are often repeated against the same victim by the same offender. These assaults occur in different forms, including mental, emotional, physical, sexual, psychological and economic. While physical and sexual assaults might not occur often, other parts of the pattern can occur daily. The use of these other tactics is effective because one battering episode builds on past episodes and sets the stage for future episodes. All tactics of the pattern interact and have profound effects on the victim.
Domestic violence warning signs
You might be in a dangerous situation if your partner does any of the following:
- Yell at you, call you names and put you down;
- Act jealous, accuse you of cheating and constantly check up on you;
- Keep you from seeing your friends or family;
- Take your paycheck or control all the money;
- Punch walls or break things when they are angry;
- Hit, slap, punch, kick, bite or “choke” you;
- Make you have sex or do sexual things you don’t want to do;
- Threaten to or hurt you with a weapon like a knife or gun;
- Threaten to kill you, your children, or themself if you leave them.
Ways to help a victim of domestic violence
- Become informed. Learn more about domestic violence by contacting the crisis intervention center in your community and guide the victim to these services.
- Lend a sympathetic ear. Offer support and be willing to listen and believe what someone is telling you.
- Remind them the violence is not their fault. The abuser is the one responsible for their own behavior.
- Help them develop a safety plan. Encourage the victim to develop a plan to protect themselves, and their children, if their partner becomes abusive again. Become a part of the victim’s safety plan.
- Know when to intervene. Domestic violence is a crime, and if you know that it is occurring, call the police immediately.