Domestic Violence: What to Know and Do About It

Domestic Violence


Domestic violence, also known as partner abuse, spouse abuse, or battering, occurs when one person uses force to inflict injury, either emotional or physical, upon another person they have, or have had, a relationship with. It occurs between spouses and partners, parents and children, children and grandparents, and brothers and sisters. Persons of any age, race, or gender can be involved in domestic violence.

There is no typical victim. Domestic violence occurs among all ages, races, and socioeconomic classes. It occurs in families of all educational backgrounds. Individuals may be living together or separated, divorced or prohibited from contact by temporary or permanent restraining orders.

Violence presents major challenges in communities of color, especially homicide and domestic violence. The serious physical damage that often results abusefrom violence receives little societal attention, although they are well known in the homes and families of many victims.

The incidence of suicide has also increased in recent years. Health Power is concerned, as well, about what we call slow suicide.” (We mean by that, lifestyles and practices which knowingly contribute to the high incidence of many of our major killers and disablers, thus doing violence to ourselves).

The checklist below can be used to assess whether or not a person is in an abusive situation.

Health Power Checklist for Signals of Abusive Behavior

To decide whether or not you, or someone you know, are in an abusive relationship, complete the checklist below. If you decide that you (or that person) are in such a situation, know that:

  1. You Are Not Alone!
  2. Something Can, and Should be Done About the Situation!
  3. Information on how to get help is provided after this checklist, which follows.

Does your partner?

  • Insist on Controlling all Finances by:forcing you to explain everything you spend or take your money
    not letting you use the family bank account, car, or credit card
    preventing you from getting a job or going to school
  • Practice Emotional and Psychological Control by:calling you names, “putting you down”, or constantly criticizing you and your abilities as a partner or parent
    preventing you from going where you want to, with whom you want to, when you want to
    embarrassing or humiliating you in front of others
    showing weapons as a way of making you afraid, or threatening you with weapons
    threatening to harm the children, or take them away
    threatening to report you to the authorities for something you didn’t do
  • Commit Acts of Physical Violence by:pushing, grabbing, slapping, hitting, or choking you
    forcing you to have sex when you don’t want to
    forcing you to participate in sexual acts that you don’t want to
    throwing things around or destroying personal property

If you checked more than three (3) boxes above, see a physician or talk with someone you trust to get help.

Click here for more Health Power information about domestic violence, including:

  • What I can do if my children or I am abused, and
  • What are other ways I can get help if I am abused

Other Key Resources on Violence

  • National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tel. (770) 448-1506
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline, Tel. (800) 799-SAFE
  • National Victim Center, Tel. (800) FYI-CALL
  • Childhelp USA/National Child Abuse hotline, (800) 4A CHILD
  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), Tel. (800) 656-4673.

Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!

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