Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Domestic violence happens when one person believes he or she is entitled to maintain coercive control over his or her partner.
Acts of domestic violence generally fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Physical battering: physical attacks or aggressive behavior (ranges from bruises to murder)
- Sexual abuse: forced sexual intercourse or unwanted sexual activity
- Psychological battering: constant verbal abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, isolating the victim from friends and family, deprivation of physical and economic resources, and destruction of personal property.
If any of these things are happening or have happened to you, you may be in an abusive relationship. Get help now: call the Family Crisis Council’s 24-hour Crisis Line at 704-636-4718.
Because battering is an ongoing pattern of behavior, domestic acts of violence are rarely a one-time event. The violence may get worse and more frequent over a period o time. It often begins with: threats, name-calling, violence in your presence (such as punching a fist through a wall), or damage to objects or pets. It may escalate to: restraining, pushing, slapping, pinching, kicking, biting or sexual assault. Finally, it may become life-threatening and include: choking, strangulation, breaking bones, and the use of weapons.
Sexual assault is any type of forced or unwanted sexual contact or behavior. Like domestic violence, sexual assault is about power and control, not love or attraction. You always have the right to say no to any unwanted sexual act. Any unwanted sexual contact or behavior is not your fault.
Acts of sexual assault include:
- Attempted rapeIncest
- Child molestation
- Vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, and
- Inappropriate touching
If you are sexually assaulted:
- Call 9-1-1 immediately; getting medical attention is very important.
- Do not change clothes, shower, brush your teeth or hair.
- Do not eat or drink anything.
- If you have already removed clothing, transport the items in paper bags. (Plastic bags can cause physical evidence to be jeopardized due to moisture retention).