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Defining Abuse

There are no right or wrong answers, politically correct or incorrect ways to define abuse.

Abuse in a relationship goes beyond physical violence. It is simply one partner’s failure to treat the other person and their loved one – or even pets – with the dignity, respect, and loved they deserve as human beings.

Instead, the abusing partner exhibits a pattern of behaviors to maintain power and control over another partner with whom he/she is involved in an intimate relationship.

Over the years, it has become common knowledge that domestic violence does not discriminate or unique to a subset of Americans. And there is scientific evidence to back this fact. According to the findings of the ongoing surveillance program, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Survey, domestic abuse affects every person regardless of socioeconomic status, race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, profession, or education level.

Anyone can be a victim or perpetrator of behaviors that physically harm, intimidate, manipulate, or seek to control a partner. Perpetrators express this spectrum of abusive behavior viz-a-viz physical violence, threats, emotional, psychological, sexual, spiritual, and financial control.

Understanding these behaviors to recognize tell-tale signs can help you leave an abusive relationship before it is too late.

Quick Facts

  • 10 million Americans experience Domestic abuse every year
  • Every minute, about 20 Americans experience physical abuse by an intimate partner
  • Domestic abuse affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men in their lifetime
  • Victims lose an average of 8 million days of paid work each year
  • The economic cost of an abusive relationship is up to 12.3 billion per year
  • Every day, over 19,000 persons seek help by calling the national hotline