What Is Domestic Abuse?

Have you ever worried about a loved one’s relationship? You don’t want to overstep or make assumptions, yet the way you see her being treated makes you wonder if everything is okay? Even if it is okay for the time being, you may worry that the relationship will turn into domestic abuse over time.

It can be difficult to know what to do when we encounter situations likes these, and sometimes it can be tricky knowing whether or not something even constitutes abuse. Domestic abuse is defined as a pattern of ongoing behavior of one person systematically taking control over another. This extends beyond the act of physical violence.

Relationship Spectrum (adapted from CORA) from JFS-Seattle.

Domestic abuse goes beyond the physical and sexual violence most often associated with domestic violence. Since most couples will argue at some point, how do you know when a relationship is abusive? Here are some things to consider.

Does it appear as though one of the parties in the relationship:

  • Feels afraid of their partner?
  • Feels humiliated or criticized much of the time?
  • Avoids certain topics out of fear of angering their partner?
  • Believes they deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • Feels blamed even when something isn’t their fault?
  • Has limited access to their money, the phone or the car?
  • Doesn’t have control over who they see or where they can go?
  • Is forced to engage in sexual activities?
  • Is being physically hurt or threatened to be hurt?

If you or someone you know experiencing domestic abuse, contact Project DVORA, (206) 861-3159. Learn more about ways you can help someone experiencing domestic abuse.

Birnbaum.VBy Jenelle Birnbaum
Violinist, hiker and all-around arts nerd Jenelle Birnbaum was the Marketing Coordinator at JFS. Outside of that, she enjoys speaking French and vegan cooking.

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