Is it abuse?

When people think about domestic violence, they often think of physically violent acts like hitting. Physical violence can be a part of domestic violence, but it is much more than that. For many, the emotional violence has a bigger impact. Domestic violence, dating violence, relationship violence and intimate partner violence are different terms that describe the same thing: a pattern of behaviors that one partner uses to gain power and control over the other.

  • get angryif you spend time with others or do things without them?
  • demandyou share your social media passwords, texts, location or let them go through your phone?
  • preventyou from working, sleeping, studying, taking care of yourself?
  • insistyou are wrong, you are crazy or you do not understand how relationships work?
  • claimyour friends or family are trying to break you up or ruin your relationship?
  • blameyou for problems in your relationship?
  • pressureyou to do sexual things, drink, use drugs or do things that could get you into trouble?
  • destroyyour belongings or property around you?
  • make funof your looks, talents, hobbies, skills, friendships, intelligence or parenting?
  • provokeyou and blame you for your reaction?
  • threatento hurt you, themselves or spread personal information or pictures of you?
  • exposeyou to danger because of your sexuality, gender, race, religion, immigration status or other parts of your identity?

How can I support someone in an abusive relationship?

Supporting someone who is in an abusive relationship is very important. Abusers try to isolate people and just staying connected and caring is crucial. You may feel scared and overwhelmed for the survivor, and these tips might be helpful.

Listen and believe

Abusers intentionally make their victims feel confused, embarrassed and/or guilty. Listen to your friend openly and without judgment.

Stay in touch

Abusers frequently isolate their victims from friends and family. Do not take it personally if your friend is suddenly busy or unable to see you. Do your best to stay in their life, check in often and let them know that you care.

Focus on the abuse

Point out the behaviors that are abusive rather than criticize the abuser. Talking about what an awful person the abuser is naturally makes the person experiencing the abuse feel defensive.

Put blame where it belongs

Remember that abuse is never the survivor’s fault. No one deserves to be treated like this.

Support their safety plan

The survivor knows best how to keep themselves and the children safe. Ask how you can be a helpful piece of their safety plan.

Talk to an advocate

Call our crisis line, 866-348-WISE, to talk with a WISE advocate about how to support someone in your life.