Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault
Women’s Resource Center
Learn the signs of an abusive relationship.
Getting out of an abusive or violent relationship isn’t easy. Maybe you’re still hoping that things will change or you’re afraid of what your partner will do if they discover you’re trying to leave. Whatever your reasons, you probably feel trapped and helpless. But help is available. There are many resources available for abused and battered women, including crisis hotlines, shelters—even job training, legal services, and childcare. Call Reach now to start living a life free of fear, it's what you deserve.
Signs your abuser is NOT changing:
He minimizes the abuse or denies how serious it really was.
He continues to blame others for his behavior.
He claims that you’re the one who is abusive.
He pressures you to go to couple’s counseling.
He tells you that you owe him another chance.
You have to push him to stay in treatment.
He says that he can’t change unless you stay with him and support him.
He tries to get sympathy from you, your children, or your family and friends.
He expects something from you in exchange for getting help.
He pressures you to make decisions about the relationship.
You might be experiencing domestic violence if your partner:
Calls you names, insults you or puts you down.
Prevents you from going to work or school.
Stops you from seeing family members or friends.
Tries to control how you spend money, where you go or what you wear.
Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful.
Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs.
Threatens you with violence or a weapon.
Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or you pets.
Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will.
Blames you for his or her violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it.
If you're gay, bisexual or transgender, you might also be experiencing domestic violence if you're in a relationship with someone who:
Threatens to tell friends, family, colleagues or community members your sexual orientation or gender identity
Tells you that authorities won't help a gay, bisexual or transgender person
Tells you that leaving the relationship means you're admitting that gay, bisexual or transgender relationships are deviant
Justifies abuse by telling you that you're not "really" gay, bisexual or transgender
Says that men are naturally violent
Help for abused men and women: Making the decision to leave:
If you’re hoping your abusive partner will change, the abuse will probably happen again. Abusers have deep emotional and psychological problems. While change is not impossible, it isn’t quick or easy. Change can only happen once your abuser takes full responsibility for his or her behavior, seeks professional treatment, and stops blaming you, their unhappy childhood, stress, work, drinking, or temper. You may think you’re the only one who understands them or that it’s your responsibility to fix their problems. But the truth is that by staying and accepting repeated abuse, you’re reinforcing and enabling the abusive behavior. Instead of helping your abuser, you’re perpetuating the problem.
If your partner has promised to stop the abuse:
When facing consequences, abusers often plead for another chance, beg for forgiveness, and promise to change. They may even mean what they say at the moment, but their true goal is to stay in control and keep you from leaving. Most of the time, they quickly return to their abusive behavior once they’ve been forgiven and they’re no longer worried that you’ll leave.
If your partner is in counseling or a program for batterers:
Even if your partner is in counseling, there is no guarantee that they’ll change. Many abusers who go through counseling continue to be violent, abusive and controlling. If your partner has stopped minimizing the problem or making excuses, that’s a good sign. You still need to make your decision based on who they are now, not the person you hope they will become.