The above infographic offers a view of a healthy relationship that is based on equality and nonviolence. Use it to compare the characteristics of a non-violent relationship to those of an abusive relationship. All forms of abuse, including emotional and verbal, are
serious and harmful. Survivors may experience one or more forms of abuse.
Who are victims of abuse?
Everyone deserves to be safe from domestic violence, and anyone can be a victim. Studies have found no characteristic link between personality type and experiences of domestic violence. Victims do not cause abuse to happen. Abuse is not a “natural” outcome of interpersonal dynamics.
In the US:
• 1 in 4 women report having been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
CDC. (“National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.” 2010)
• 30-60% of perpetrators of partner abuse also abused children in the household (Center for
Disease Control & Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention & Control).
• 32% of women sought help at hospital emergency rooms, inpatient units or ambulatory care for
injures specifically resulting from abuse (Campbell et al., 2005).
Intimate Partner Violence Dynamics
Over time, violence almost always escalates in both frequency and severity. Repeated violence tends to
follow a three-phase cycle:
1. Tension Building Phase: Arguments and Threats
2. Acute Battering Phase: Beating, Choking, Punching, Use of Weapons
3. Honeymoon Phase: Period of Relative Calm
Domestic Violence or Intimate Partner Violence is a pattern of coercive behavior characterized by the domination and control of one person over another, usually an intimate partner, through physical, psychological, emotional, verbal, sexual, and/or economic abuse. Here are some forms of domestic violence:
• Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, kicking, choking, pushing, punching, beating.
• Verbal Abuse: Constant criticism, mocking, making humiliating remarks, yelling, swearing,
• Sexual Abuse: Forcing sex, demanding sexual acts, degrading treatment.
• Isolation: Making it hard to see friends and relatives, monitoring phone calls, reading mail, texts, or messages, controlling daily activities, taking car keys, destroying passports or documents
• Coercion: Causing guilt, sulking, manipulating children and family members, always insisting on being right, making up impossible “rules.”
• Stalking: Watching of following, repeated threatening calls or unwanted messages, monitoring your social networking, posting unwanted photos or videos of you online, sending unwanted gifts, breaking into your home or destroying your property, using cameras in your home or spyware on your computer or phone.
• Economic Control: Not paying bills, refusing to give money, not allowing you to go to school or work, not allowing you to learn a new job skill, refusing to work and support the family.
• Abusing Trust: Lying, breaking promises, withholding important information, being
unfaithful, being jealous, not sharing domestic responsibilities.
• Threats and Intimidation: Threats to harm others, threats to harm pets, using physical size to
intimidate, shouting, keeping weapons and threatening to use them.
• Emotional Withholding: Not expressing feelings, not giving compliments, not paying
attention, not respecting feelings, rights, opinions, and concerns.
• Destruction of Property: Destroying furniture, punching walls, throwing or breaking
things, abusing pets.
• Self-Destructive Behaviors: Abusing drugs or alcohol, threatening self-harm or suicide, driving recklessly, causing trouble.
Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence
House of Ruth Maryland