What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive and assaultive behaviors that a former or current intimate partner uses to assert or control over the other. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or digital, and it can happen to anyone of any age, race, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, or gender. 

Domestic violence is never the victim's fault. It can be difficult to end the relationship for many reasons, including safety. 

Domestic Violence can include…

Physical Abuse
Hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, strangling, smothering, using or threatening to use weapons, shoving, interrupting your sleep, throwing things, destroying property, hurting or killing pets, denying medical treatment

Sexual Abuse
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, denying contraception or protection from sexually transmitted diseases

Emotional Abuse
Constant put downs or criticisms, name calling, 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, watching where you go and who you talk to

Financial Abuse
Giving you an allowance, not letting you have your own money, hiding family assets, running of debts, interfering with your job, ruining your credit

Digital Abuse
Telling you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook, stealing or insisting on being given your passwords, using social media to keep constant tabs on you, sending you unwanted, explicit pictures and/or demanding you send some in return, looking through your phone frequently, checking up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or to talk through additional resources, please contact the DC Victim Hotline (1-844-443-5732).

Downloadable resources

These Power and Control Wheel graphics detail what happens in abusive relationships.
Power and Control Wheel
Immigrant Power and Control Wheel
LGBTQ Power and Control Wheel
Power and Control Wheel-Spanish