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The Retreat > Get Informed > What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic and dating violence include physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and financial abuse. 

Relationship abuse occurs between people of all racial, economic, educational, and religious backgrounds, in heterosexual and same-sex relationships.

Partners can be living together or separately, married or unmarried, in short-term or long-term relationships.


  • Physical Abuse: Hair pulling, biting, shaking, pushing, pinching, choking, kicking, confinement, slapping, hitting, punching, using weapons, forced intercourse, unwanted sexual touching in public or in private and depriving of food or sleep.
  • Emotional Abuse: Insult you in public or in private, put you down friends and family, make you feel bad about yourself, call you names, make you think your crazy, play mind games, humiliate you, make you feel guilty, treat you like a servant, make all the big decisions, be the one to define men’s and women’s roles.
  • Sexual Abuse: Force you to dress in a sexual way, insult you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names, force or manipulate you into to having sex or performing sexual acts, hold you down during sex, demand sex when you’re sick, tired or after hurting you, hurt you with weapons or objects during sex, involve other people in sexual activities with you against your will, ignore your feelings regarding sex, force you to watch pornography, purposefully try to pass on a sexually transmitted disease to you.
  • Economic Abuse: Prevent you from getting or keeping a job, make you ask for money, give you an allowance, take your money, not let you know about or have access to family income, not allow you a voice in important financial decisions, demand exclusive control over household finances.
  • Coercion, Threats & Intimidation: Make or carry out threats to do something to hurt you, threaten to leave you or to commit suicide, threaten to report you to welfare, make you drop charges, make you do illegal things, make you afraid by using looks, gestures, or actions, throw or smash things, destroy property, abuse pets, dangerous driving, display weapons.
  • Using Children: Make you feel guilty about the children, use the children to relay messages, use visitation to harass you, threaten to take the children away.
  • Isolation: Control what you do, who you see, what you read, and where you go, limit your outside involvement, refuse to let you learn to drive, go to school, or get a job, not allow you to freely use the car or the telephone.
  • Jealousy & Blame to Justify Actions: Minimize, deny, blame, make light of the abuse and not take your concerns about it seriously, check up on where you’ve been or who you’ve talked to, accuse you of infidelity, say the abuse didn’t happen, shift responsibility for abusive behavior, say you caused it.

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