You in an Abusive Relationship?
(Excerpted from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handbook on domestic violence.)
Recognizing domestic violence is not always easy, even for the victims. This is because domestic violence is much more than physical abuse. In fact, many women who are controlled by their partners and who live in danger and fear have never been physically assaulted. In the early stages, the pattern of abuse is hard to recognize. People in abusive relationships, however, consistently report that the abuse gets worse over time.
The following checklist of behaviors may help you decide if you or someone you know is being abused.
Does your partner ...
Use emotional and psychological control?
Call you names, yell, put you down, make racial or other slurs, or constantly criticize or undermine you and your abilities as a wife, partner or mother?
Behave in an overprotective way or become extremely jealous?
Prevent you from going where you want to, when you want to, and with whomever you choose as a companion?
Humiliate or embarrass you in front of other people?
Use economic control?
Deny you access to family assets such as bank accounts, credit cards or a car?
Control all the finances, force you to account for what you spend or take your money?
Prevent or try to prevent you from getting or keeping a job or from going to school?
Limit your access to health, prescription or dental insurance?
Threaten to report you to the authorities (the police or child protective services) for something you didn't do?
Threaten to harm or kidnap the children?
Display weapons as a way of making you afraid or directly threaten you with weapons?
Use his anger or "loss of temper" as a threat to get you to do what he wants?
Commit acts of physical violence?
Carry out threats to hurt you, your children, pets, family members, friends, or himself?
Destroy personal property or throw things around?
Grab, push, hit, punch, slap, kick, choke or bite you?
Force you to have sex when you don't want to or to engage in sexual acts that you don't want to do?
These common control tactics used by abusers are certainly not the only ones. If your partner does things that restrict your personal freedom or that make you afraid, you may be in an abusive relationship.
For more OPM information on domestic violence, go to www.opm.gov/workplac/html/domestic.html-ssi.