Interpersonal Violence Prevention Initiative
Western Illinois University
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
34% of adults have witnessed a man beating his wife or girlfriend.
74% of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.
30% of Americans know a woman who was physically abused by her partner in the past year.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner or household member. It can include physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological abuse or threats of abuse.
- Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair-pulling, etc. Physical abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or other drug use.
- Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
- Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. This may include, but is not limited to, constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.
- Economic Abuse: Making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money, or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.
- Psychological Abuse: Causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner's family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.
What are Signs of Abuse?
You may be wondering how you can tell if someone is in an abusive relationship. People who are abused can suffer from chronic depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and a host of other symptoms. The truth is, though, sometimes you can't tell, but there are warning signs you can be on the look-out for...
People who are being abused may:
- Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner.
- Go along with everything their partner says and does.
- Check in often with their partner to report where they are, who they're with, and what they're doing.
- Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner.
- Talk about their partner's temper, jealousy, or possessiveness.
- Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of "accidents."
- Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation.
- Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors).
- Be restricted from seeing family and friends.
- Rarely go out in public without their partner.
- Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car.
- Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident.
- Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn).
- Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal.
People who are abusers may:
- Call their partner bad names or put them down
- Shout and curse at their partner
- Hit, slap, or push their partner
- Make threats
- Be jealous or suspicious of their partner
- Keep their partner away from family and friends
- Throw things
Abusers are not easy to spot. There is no 'typical' abuser. In public, they may appear friendly and loving to their partner and family. They often only abuse behind closed doors. They also try to hide the abuse by causing injuries that can be hidden and do not need a doctor. Abusers often have low self-esteem. They do not take responsibility for their actions. They may even blame the victim for causing the violence. In most cases, men abuse female victims. It is important to remember that women can also be abusers and men can be victims.