Does your partner, caretaker, or someone close to you:
- criticize or humiliate you?
- isolate you from others?
- manipulate you or lie to you?
- threaten to hurt you?
- force you to do things you do not want to do?
- constantly text you or call you?
- use your money or force you to buy things?
- touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable?
- fault you for everything?
- prevent you from getting your school work done?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you may be in an abusive relationship.
Why Don’t People Just Leave?
Victims of domestic violence face many barriers when deciding to leave an abusive relationship. Many cannot leave or may be forced to return to an abusive partner because of lack of access to adequate finances or legal assistance.1 In addition, a victim may worry about the well-being and safety of any children or pets involved in the relationship. They may also fear for their own safety and be concerned about how the perpetrator will react when they decide to leave the relationship.
The most dangerous time for a victim of abuse is when they try to leave the relationship.2 Because of the pattern of abuse in the relationship, a victim may feel scared, intimidated, ashamed, and isolated. Therefore, in order to leave an abusive relationship, a victim needs a support network and a detailed safety plan.3 Regardless of a victim’s decision to stay in or leave a relationship, our job is to support victims where they are and connect them to the resources they need to stay safe.
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Methods of Maintaining Abusive Relationships:
The power and control wheel (developed by the Duluth Project out of Minnesota) is used to educate the public about the true dynamics regarding domestic and relationship violence. JCADA modified the original Duluth Power and Control wheel in this presentation to encompass all forms of power-based violence. Often, the miseducated public associates domestic or relationship violence with the physical abuse that gains the most attention and that is the most illegal. The ten elements represented by the diagram above are the elements inherent in a relationship which is characterized by power-based violence. Physical and sexual violence are ways in which someone manifests control in a violent way – using their physicality or sex to keep control. Neither is about the physical act. It’s a way to maintain the control – even if that one time. Even if your partner never physically or sexually abuses you, if they utilize any of the another methods described above to control your behavior, there is cause for concern. After all, the lack of physical violence does not mean a relationship is not danger. For 33% percent of domestic violence homicide victims, the homicide itself was the first act of violence – that’s 1 in 3.