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What comes to mind when you think about domestic violence? Most people associate physical violence as the main form but in reality, domestic violence encompasses many types of abuse. While the definitions differ in severity, they are all equally dangerous and no one deserves to experience them.

Explore this section to learn about the different ways abuse can occur so you can be better prepared to identify them.

  • Physical Abuse
    • Any deliberate use of physical force with the intent to inflict injury or fear in the victim. Examples may include hitting, shoving, biting, strangling or the use of weapons. Aggression or a physical attack can range from cuts and bruises to murder; it typically begins with small exchanges that escalate into more serious attacks.
  • Emotional Abuse/Verbal Abuse
    • Emotional and verbal abuse can include anything that affects the victim’s psychological or mental health. These forms of abuse are non-physical in nature and may include insults, constant blaming, social isolation, intimidation and degradation of the victim.
  • Sexual Abuse
    • Consists of any action that affects the victim’s ability to control the circumstances of sexual activity. Abusers may prevent the victim from having access to forms of birth control or completely ignore the victim’s refusal to participate in sexual activity. Victims of sexual abuse frequently sustain physical injuries during the assault as they are forced to engage in sexual acts against their will.
  • Technological Abuse
    • The use of technology by the abuser to exert power and control over the victim. This behavior frequently involves a form of verbal or emotional abuse via social networks, emails and text messages. Specific forms of technological abuse include high-tech eavesdropping, video-monitoring the home, tracking the victim’s location with GPS devices and tampering with phone bills or emails.
    • Financial Abuse
      • Involves attempts to make the victim financially dependent on the abuser. Abusers may prohibit the victim from working or obtaining an education or withhold access to the financial resources.
    • Stalking
      • The deliberate engagement in a pattern or series of actions over a period of time intended to seriously alarm the victim and cause them to fear for their safety. Stalking behaviors may consist of repeated phone calls or emails, writing, following or showing up unannounced to a victim’s home or current location.

Any of these forms of abuse may be used to exert control over a victim of domestic violence. Oftentimes, one type of abuse will be paired with others over time to create a dangerous, cyclic occurrence of domestic violence.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, call our Toll-Free, 24-Hour Hotline at 800-323-HOPE (4673).

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