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The following section briefly defines forms of abuse and typical behaviors:


Physical violence is battering if it results in enhancing the control or increasing the perceived power of the batterer over the recipient. If the victim is fearful of the perpetrator, if he modifies his behavior in response to the assault or to potential assault(s), or if he intentionally maintains a particular behavioral repertoire in the effort to avoid violence - despite his preference not to do so - he is battered. Physical abuse can be defined as any forceful physical behavior that intentionally or accidentally causes bodily harm or property destruction, including the following:

· hitting
· beating
· choking
· pushing
· slapping
· kicking
· pulling hair
· biting & burning
· holding partner down or preventing partner from leaving
· locking partner out of house.
· abandoning partner in a dangerous place.
· refusal to get partner help or medical attention
· forced use of substances or depriving of medication
· denying/interfering with partner's basic physical needs (eating and sleeping).
· driving recklessly to intimidate.
· smashing, damaging, stealing, throwing objects, or selling partner's possessions.
· abusing or threatening abuse of pet or children
· use of a weapon against partner (hammer, knife, gun, etc.)


Sexual domestic abuse is any nonconsensual sexual act or behavior that is motivated by the perpetrator's need for power and control including contact that demeans or humiliates the victim against his will, instigating feelings of shame and exposure - particularly in regards to body, sexual performance, or sexuality including:
· demeaning remarks about partner's body, clothing, or appearance
· minimization of partner's sexual needs.
· berating partner about his sexual history.
· demeaning remarks about the partner being too feminine.
· forcing sex or sexual acts on partner without consent.
· using force or roughness that is not consensual including forced sex (rape).
· refusing to comply with partner's requests for safe sex.
· using knowledge of prior sexual acts or abuse to terrorize, intimidate or re-traumatize.


Emotional abuse is present in almost all domestic violent and abusive relationships and can have injurious consequences to the victim - eroding self-esteem, confidence, hopefulness, and most importantly one's sense of self. Typically, emotional abuse includes ridicule, intimidation, coercion, manipulation and verbal harassment. Perpetrators attempt to bolster their own self-esteem through the instillation of insecurities in their partners. If in a verbal exchange no negotiation is possible, a form(s) of emotional abuse has most likely occurred. Emotionally abusive behaviors include:
· name-calling and use of abusive language to partner;criticizing, humiliation, disproportionate anger, or yelling to intimidate
· irrational blaming of partner.
· withholding displays of affection.
· obsessive jealousy and accusations.
· instillation in partner that 'nothing he does will ever be good enough'.
· use of intimate knowledge to generate vulnerability.


Imposed social isolation occurs with such frequency in domestic abuse that it deserves an independent classification. Partners are robbed of contact with other people, including family, friends, children and other loved ones to create a social deprivation that often causes the victim to be more reliant on the abuser while simultaneously preventing him from seeking support or successfully leaving the relationship. The following behaviors are the most commonly used in the imposition of social isolation:

· blame of partner's friends or family for the couple's relationship problems
· monitoring phone calls, mail, or visits.
· demanding an accounting of partner's daily activities
· insulting, threatening or assaulting partner's friends/family, driving people out of his life.
· forcing partner to choose between the couple relationship and loved ones.
· creating public scenes or disturbances when the partner is out with others.
· stalking partner or other forms of surveillance.


Financial abuse is the prevention of one partner in accessing his own or mutual material resources with the result that he is deprived of economic autonomy. Common examples of financial abuse include:

· forbidding partner to work.
· harassing partner at work by creating scenes, excessive phone calls, or creating conflict with co-workers, supervisors and/or clients; jeopardizing his/her job.
· forcing partner to miss work through threats, injuries, or substance use.
· control of shared resources including bank accounts and common property.
· demanding partner to sign over paychecks denying access to mutual funds.
· demanding partner to account for all money he spent.
· coercing partner to pay for all expenses, including rent, food, and utilities.
· refusing to work yet contributing to expenses.
· damaging of property that is necessary for partner's job or functioning, including automobile, financial records, computer etc.


Intellectual abuse is often a strong weapon used by the perpetrator and is perhaps best considered as the use of words and thoughts to manipulate, control or dominate a partner including:

· lying in order to confuse.
· telling tales and false stories or playing mind games.
· telling partner he doesn't know what he is talking about;manipulating partner with words and ideas;telling partner he is stupid or crazy.
· scheming, plotting, manipulative planning which thwart the victim's sense of stability, security and undermine his adaptation within the world.


Spiritual abuse is the suffocation of spirit or spiritual expression (of the partner or partnership) or the diminution of a person's essential character or characteristics, including the following behaviors:

· denial of spiritual expression.
· degrading the victim's beliefs or spiritual expressions.
· manipulating partner by withholding love or unity, or granting it conditionally.
· name-calling and expressions of prejudice.
· cold-shouldering partner.
· having affairs with others and flaunting them with the intention of instilling insecurity or to undermine the sense of couple and partnership.



Putting All Together: The Domestic Violence Cycle