An abusive relationship is any relationship where someone treats their intimate partner with violence, disrespect, cruelty, harm, or force. When we think of domestic violence, it is most commonly thought of as physical violence with visible signs of abuse, but domestic violence and abusive relationships also include emotional and sexual abuse.
There are always people to help you find safety, get out of abusive situations, and heal from the trauma you have experienced. You have a right to be safe and abuse is never your fault. Confide in someone you trust and get help and support from a professional.
If you need help right away, call one of these hotlines. If you have been hurt physically or are in immediate danger, call 911.
If you are unsure if you are in an abusive relationship, or if someone you love may be in an abusive relationship, check out these five warning signs of abuse:
1. Physical Harm:
Physical assault and harm by your relationship partner is never okay. In abusive relationships it is common for the abusive partner to claim it was an accident and that it will never happen again. They may try to make the situation better by being extra loving and giving afterwards. Remember abuse is never your fault and it is never okay.
2. Threats of Harm:
Many abusive partners will threaten harm to you or themselves if you attempt to leave the relationship. Even if your partner never physically harms you, threats of harm are never acceptable in a relationship.
3. Forces You to Perform Sexual Acts:
Your partner should never force or push you into performing intimate or sexual acts you do not want to perform. Sexual abuse includes any sexual contact that you do not feel comfortable with or want to perform, including in intimate relationships. All relationships require consent.
4. Controlling Behavior:
Abusive partners will work to control every aspect of your life. They will constantly ask questions of where you are going, who you are going with, and what you are doing. They may even try to cut out friends and family by stopping you from seeing them. An abusive partner may force you to ask for permission to do certain things to gain even further control of your life.
Abusive partners may try to cut you off entirely from all your resources, friends, family, and even job. They may refuse to let you use the car or talk on the phone without their presence. They may also get angry or jealous when you hang out with friends or family.