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What Is Domestic Abuse?
When people think of domestic abuse, they often focus on domestic violence. But domestic abuse occurs whenever one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person.
Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.
Domestic violence and abuse do not discriminate. Abuse happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused—especially verbally and emotionally. The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.
What is Sexual Violence?
The term “sexual violence” is an an all-encompassing, non-legal term that refers to crimes like sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse. Many of these crimes can be described as the ones below:
- Sexual Assault
- Child Sexual Abuse
- Sexual Assault of Men and Boys
- Intimate Partner Sexual Violence
- Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault
- Alcohol Facilitated Sexual Assault
- Sexual Harassment
- Elder Sexual Abuse
- Military Sexual Trauma
- Prisoner Rape
- Sexual Abuse of People with Disabilities
Do not keep your suffering to yourself, find someone that you trust to talk to about your situation. That person, whether friend, family member, clergy, or counselor, can listen to your problems and help you to find other solutions for what is going on in your life right now.
You can always call the toll-free Rape, Abuse, & Incest National (RAINN) Network 1-800-656-4673
South Dakota Helpline Center at 1-877-988-5559, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone and all calls are confidential.
RAINN also has information on if you or someone you know is being abused: To reach these resources, please visit the website RAINN
Information provided by RAINN
Signs of Abuse:
What to Look For?
There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.
To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you’re in an abusive relationship.
Some signs of domestic violence are more obvious than others. Here are a few common signs.
Does your intimate partner ever:
- Accuse you of cheating and being disloyal?
- Make you feel worthless?
- Hurt you by hitting, choking or kicking you?
- Intimidate and threaten to hurt you or someone you love?
- Threaten to hurt themselves if they don’t get what they want?
- Try to control what you do and who you see?
- Isolate you from your family and friends?
- Pressure or force you into unwanted sex?
- Control your access to money?
- Stalk you, including calling you constantly or following you?
If you recognize these signs of domestic violence and suspect that you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, you are not alone; there is help in your community. Visit South Dakota Network Against Family Violence & Sexual Assault Website for a list of shelters and other resources.
Information provided by Safe Horizon