Relationship violence can be physical, emotional, and/or sexual.
- Physical violence can include kicking, punching, slapping, choking, restraining, breaking possessions, punching walls, and more. It is any action that is used to keep someone under control by use or threat of size, strength, presence, or force.
- Emotional violence can include the silent treatment, saying critical things, insults, yelling, strong jealousy, isolating the partner from friends and family, threatening self-injury or suicide in the event of a break up, controlling access to money, and more. It is any use of words or actions used to control, hurt, or demean one’s partner.
- Sexual violence can include rape, demanding sex, interference with birth control, refusal to practice safe sex, use of rape drugs, and more. It is any action that is used to keep someone under control by use or threat of unwanted sexual contact or unwanted control of their reproductive health.
There is a cycle of violence in relationship violence. The abuser first abuses their partner. Following this, the abuser then acts as though they feel guilty about what they have done, apologizes to their partner, makes excuses for their behavior or minimizes what they have done, and pretends like everything is normal and no abuse has taken place. Finally, the abuser fantasizes about harming their partner again and creates a situation in which they can go back to the beginning of the cycle and commit abuse. The safety and love that is felt in between abusive actions can make the abused person feel that their partner has changed their ways and will not hurt them again, but this is not the case.
Relationship violence can happen to anyone. If you or someone you know is in an unsafe relationship, it is important to take steps to get this person out of the dangerous situation they are in. These steps can include finding a place to live, ensuring financial security, reporting the abuser to the police, blocking the abuser on social networking sites and cell phones, and more, depending on the nature of the relationship. Resources that can help you or someone you know out of an unsafe situation can be found here.