Domestic Violence Prevention Program
About 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported at least one impact of the violence (https://ncadv.org/statistics, 2021). Click here to learn the statistics in California.
If you are in a life-threatening situation, please dial 9-1-1, If you need to talk, call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline 888-799-SAFE (7223), If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, you are not alone! There are resources that can help you.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFINED
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviors in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.
Domestic violence can impact people of all race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, education level, economic status, belief systems or values can be a victim — or perpetrator — of domestic violence. That includes behaviors that physically harm, intimidate, manipulate or control a partner, or otherwise force them to behave in ways they don’t want to, including through physical violence, threats, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, gaslighting, sexual abuse, financial control and more (www.thehotline.org). Remember, domestic violence is about POWER AND CONTROL. It is not an illness. It is not a disease. It is a CHOICE.
Multiple forms of abuse are usually present at the same time in abusive situations, and it’s essential to understand how these behaviors interact so you know the signs of an abuse relationship.
Red Flags of an Abusive Relationship
It is not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive. In fact, many abusers may seem “perfect” on the surface as if they are the dream partner in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors do not always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, here are some red flags that you may be in an abusive behavior:
Extreme jealousy of your family, friends or any time you spend away from them
Preventing you from making your own decisions (i.e. about working, going to school, etc.)
Always making you feel that you cannot do anything right
Pressuring you to do things you are not comfortable with such as sexual acts, drinking or drug use
Intimidating you and making you feel scared or like you're constantly "walking on eggshells"
Threatening to take your kids away, cut you off financially, have you deported, or other drastic measure if you leave
Threatening to kill you or themselves
If you are in a life-threatening situation, please dial 9-1-1
If you need to talk, call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline 888-799-SAFE (7223)
If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, you are not alone! There are resources that can help you.
HEALTHY, UNHEALTHY, AND ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS
The most effective way to prevent abusive relationships, is through educating the community, especially teens and young adults, on what safe and healthy relationships look like.
Some examples of what a healthy relationship looks like are:
Communication: Talking openly about problems, listening to one another and respecting each other's opinions.
Respect: You value each other as you are.
Trust: You believe what your partner has to say. You do not feel the need to "prove" that you can be trusted.
Honesty: You are honest with each other, but can still keep some things private.
Equality: You make decisions together and hold each other to the same standard.
Enjoying personal time: You enjoy spending time apart, alone or with others, but you respect and understand each other's need for time apart.
Making mutual sexual choices: You talk openly about sexuality and reproductive choices together. All partners should willingly consent to sexual activity and should be able to safely discuss various comfort levels.
Economic/financial partner: You and your partner have equal say with regard to finances and both partners have access to the resources they need.
Engaging in supportive parenting: All partners are able to parent in a way they feel comfortable with. You communicate together about the needs of the child, as well as the needs of the parent.
Some relationships find themselves in between healthy and abusive, and these are simply called unhealthy relationships. Many people contend with unhealthy relationships daily, but the key difference in these types of relationships versus abusive relationships are power, control and harm.
Some examples of an unhealthy relationship qualities are:
No Communication: When problems arise, you fight or you don’t discuss them at all.
Disrespect: One or more partners is not considerate of the other.
No Trust: One partner doesn't believe what the other says, or feels entitled to invade their privacy.
Dishonesty: One or more partners tells lies.
Controlling: One partner feels their desires and choices are more important.
Limited Social Circle: Your partner's community is the only one you socialize in or you can't seem to go anywhere without your partner.
Pressured to Have Sex: one partner uses pressure or guilt on the other to have sex or do anything sexual at any point.
Financial Inequality: Finances are not discussed, and/or it is assumed only one partner is in charge of finances.
Abusive relationships may or may not start abusive. While there can be some red flags, it is not always easy to predict that your partner may become abusive. In fact, many abusers are known to be very outgoing, charismatic, and the "life of the party." It is also common for abusers to be very aesthetically attractive, successful and have a great career. Control and power are the roots of domestic violence, however, that is not the only factor. Oftentimes abusers come from abusive households growing up, have been violent in a relationship before but claims to have changed, and/or may have trouble with drugs and alcohol.
Some examples of what abusive relationship looks like are:
Communicates in a way that is hurtful, threatening, insulting or demeaning.
Mistreats the other partner and does not respect the feelings, thoughts, decisions, opinions, or physical safety of the other.
Accuses the other of cheating or having an affair when it is not true. The accuser may hurt the other partner in a physical or verbal way as a result.
Denies that the abuse actions are abuse. An abusive partner may even try to blame the other for the harm they're doing, makes excuses for abusive actions, or minimizes the abusive behaviors.
One partner controls the other. There is no equality in the relationship. One partner makes all decisions for the couple without the other's input.
Isolates the other partner and controls where the other one goes and who they talk to. They may isolate their partner from family and friends progressively or all at once.
Forces sexual activity or causes pregnancy intentionally. One partner forces the other to have sex or do something they do not want to do sexually. In relationships where pregnancy is a physical possibility, one partner may force the other to become pregnant.
Exerts financial control by controlling the other partner's access to money and resources. Having an open dialogue about finances is not an option. This may include preventing a partner from earning an income or not allowing a partner access to their own income.