Domestic abuse is a pattern of behavior where one person forces their will upon another. This can happen between people who are dating, married, friends, or relatives.
Abusive behaviors can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial, psychological, and/or spiritual. Learning the signs of abuse is the first step toward freedom.
If you or someone you know may be in an abusive relationship you can call The Retreat’s 24-hour hotline, 631-329-2200, to ask questions and get services. Our hotline operator will discuss with you your options.
Physical abuse is the most recognized form of abuse. It includes physical behaviors including hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, burning, strangulation, damaging personal property, refusing medical care, controlling medication, coercing a partner into substance abuse, and the use of weapons.
Sexual abuse is any sexual act performed without consent. Examples include coercing a partner to have sex without protection or sabotaging birth control, pursuing sexual activity when the victim is not fully conscious or is afraid to say no, having sex when consent is unclear, hurting a partner physically during sex, removing a condom during sex without consent, and forcing a partner to have sex with other people.
Emotional abuse occurs when one person uses emotional means to manipulate and control another. Emotional behaviors include name-calling, insulting, blaming, extreme jealousy, intimidation, shaming, humiliating, isolation, controlling activities and movements, and stalking.
Technological abuse is the use of various technologies to maintain power and control of someone in an intimate partner relationship. Technological abuse can happen to people of all ages, but it is more common amongst teenagers who use technology and social media to interact in a manner often unmonitored by adults.
Any behavior that maintains power and control over finances constitutes financial abuse. Examples include having to account for every penny spent, restricting access to bank accounts and credit cards, being put on an allowance, having money stolen by an abuser, causing a partner to lose their job through direct and indirect means, and damaging a partner’s credit score.
Spiritual or religious abuse is more difficult to spot than any other type of abuse. It occurs when one person tries to control and manipulate the other using religion as a justification. This can take the form of ridiculing or insulting a person’s spiritual beliefs, preventing a person from practicing their religious or spiritual beliefs, using a person’s beliefs to manipulate or shame them, forcing children to be raised in a faith that has not been agreed to by both partners, using religious texts or beliefs to minimize or rationalize abusive behaviors.