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What is Abuse?

Abuse is when someone who is supposed to care about us threatens our

health and/or well being. No one has the right to hurt you and you have the

right to be free from abuse.  It's not your fault, and you did not cause the

abuse.  Anyone can be a victim of abuse, regardless of ethnic background,

age, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, religion, marital, financial or

employment status.

Intimate partner violence can include physical, psychological, emotional,

verbal, financial, sexual, and spiritual abuse; excessive jealousy and control;
sexual assault; harassment after separation; and murder.

The following are some of the signs of abuse:

  • Ignoring or minimizing your feelings

  • Constantly criticizing, insulting and calling you names

  • Corrupting, exploiting or terrorizing behaviors

  • Humiliating you in public or private

  • Refusing to help you when you are sick or injured

  • Controlling all the money, vehicle or phone

  • Secretive behavior regarding shared finances

  • Not taking responsibility for shared expenses 

  • Locking you out of your home

  • Isolating you from your family, friends, work and community support

  • Harming or destroying pets or livestock

  • Controlling where you go and what you do

  • Endangering you while in a vehicle

  • Checking up on you constantly

  • Blaming you for the abuse that occurs

  • Playing mind games

  • Forcing you to practice rituals/beliefs against your will

  • Threatening to: hurt you, take your children, harm your family, and hurt you with a weapon

  • Pushing, shoving, throwing objects at you

  • Destruction of property​

  • Hitting, choking, punching, biting, slapping, kicking you

  • Any form of sexual contact, exploitation, and/or sexual activity that is unwanted

What is the Cycle of Abuse?

Abuse is not a one-time incident; it usually follows a definite cycle.


Phase One - The Tension Building:

  • verbal attacks, put-downs, and minor battering occur

  • tension and anticipation

  • the feeling of "walking on eggshells"


Phase Two - The Explosion:

  • tensions erupt into violence

  • the abuser is likely to sexually assault, injure or kill


Phase Three - The Denial:

  • abuser blames the partner for the incident that happened

  • excuses are made ("If only she didn't . . . ")

  • the abuser minimizes what they did


Phase Four - The Calm:

  • after the incident, the partner becomes extremely loving, kind and sorry for what he did

  • begging forgiveness, promising it will never happen again

  • guilt is felt by both partners


The cycle can cover a long or short period of time. The violence usually gets worse. The "Calm" phase, then the "Denial" phase will eventually disappear.

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