What is domestic violence (DV)?
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse.
The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.
How do I know if I’m experiencing domestic violence or abuse?
If you say yes to any of the following questions, you may be experiencing domestic violence. Please be aware that every situation is different and unique, and there are other forms of abuse and violence outside of this list.
- Does this person hit, kicked, stomped, slapped, choked or punched you?
- Are they extremely jealous or possessive?
- Do they tell you you never do anything right?
- Do they put you down?
- Do they coerce or force you into sexual acts that you don’t want to do or are uncomfortable with?
- Do they refuse to use protection or otherwise try to sabotage birth control?
- Do they force or coerce you to do drugs or drink alcohol?
- Do they destroy your property?
- Do they harm or threaten to harm your pet if you don’t do what they say?
- Do they try and keep you from seeing your friends or family?
- Do they control what you wear?
- Do they demand your paycheck or control your money?
- Do they tell you no one else will ever love you?
- Do they follow or stalk you?
- Do they threaten to “out” you if you identify as lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, or transgender?
- Do they threaten to have you deported, if you are undocumented?
What if I’m not ready to leave?
Anyone who experiences abuse or domestic violence isn’t always ready to leave the relationship. We recommend coming up with a safety plan, like you would a fire drill, just incase you ever need to. Some options you can consider are:
- Plan an escape route in case you ever need to quickly leave your surroundings.
- Think about who you could call and where you could go if you needed to leave. Leaving an overnight bag with a friend.
- Come up with a safeword with someone you know and trust. If you call that person and use that safeword, that person will know to call the police or utilize another form of support that you two have discussed.
If you live in Cambridge, connect with our Community Support staff. For more information on what kinds of help they provide and how to contact them, please see our Community Support Partnerships page.
Is there anyone I can call and talk to?
Yes! We have a 24 hour hotline that operates 7 days a week. If you’d like to talk to someone about your situation, please call 617-661-7203
Want to learn more about supporting survivors?
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