Domestic violence is an increasingly visible social and legal problem that includes physical abuse, verbal abuse and stalking. By definition, domestic violence is a habitual, patterned behavior used by one member of a household or relationship to gain power and control over their partner or other members of the household.

Domestic violence can occur between family members — for example, between a father and son, or between siblings. Domestic violence between dating or married people is also referred to as intimate partner violence, and this is the type of abuse WISE addresses.

Violence is a blanket term that described many kinds of behavior — the abuser might hit or punch, yell, threaten to harm their partner, or belittle and insult them. He or she might use the kids against their partner, deeming them an unfit parent.

Violence takes many forms, and is never the fault of the victim.

Domestic violence is a crime. It not only endangers the health and safety of the immediate victims, child and adult, but spills out into our schools, the police and our places of work.

How do you know if you are in an abusive relationship?

Ask yourself these questions.

  • Does your partner use physical force, threats or insults to control your behavior?
  • Has your partner forced you to perform sexual acts against your will?
  • Has your partner destroyed or damaged your property, or injured or killed your pets?
  • Does your partner keep track of your whereabouts, social media activity or phone usage?
  • Is he or she jealous or possessive?
  • Does your partner restrict your access to money, or prevent you from having a job?
  • Does your partner attempt to prevent you from communicating with friends and family members?
  • Has your partner hurt or threatened to hurt your children? Have they suggested you are a bad parent and threatened to have the children removed from your care, or to take custody in the event of a separation?
  • Are you afraid to leave your partner because he/she might retaliate?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you might need help.

Need Help?

Advocates are available 24/7 to speak with survivors of domestic or sexual violence. Call our crisis line at (231) 796-6600.
More Ways We Can Help

Learn more about abuse and its many forms: