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"Red Flags" & Recognizing Abuse

Facts about DV:

Domestic violence (DV) is the deliberate and systematic pattern of threatening, manipulative, and abusive behaviors used by one partner to gain and maintain power and control over another partner. This can occur in a current intimate relationship, or in a former relationship. DV can include many different types of abuse, including physical, verbal, emotional/psychological, sexual, and financial forms of abuse.

Domestic violence is a highly prevalent public health issue. Approximately:

  • 1 in 3 women, 1 in 4 men, and 1 in 2 trans & nonbinary folks in the U.S. experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime
  • 1 in 3 teens will experience dating abuse before graduating from high school

Domestic violence does not discriminate. It occurs across all genders, gender identities, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, religious backgrounds, income levels, professions, age groups, and geographic locations. Abuse can happen to anyone.

Sources: National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey (CDC), One Love Foundation, Break the Cycle


Warning Signs or "Red Flags":

Domestic violence is not only physical (i.e. hitting, kicking, pushing, biting, using a weapon). It encompasses many other types of abuse, including emotional / psychological, verbal, sexual, and financial abuse.

Besides physical violence, domestic violence can look / sound / feel like: 

  • You do not feel safe to share your emotions, ideas, or opinions with your partner
  • You have to "walk on eggshells" to avoid upsetting your partner
  • Your partner always needs to know where you are, who you're with, and/or what you're doing
  • Your partner is constantly "checking in" or sending you unwanted text messages, emails, DMs, etc.
  • You need to ask your partner's permission before making decisions
  • Your partner makes you feel "crazy," "stupid," like you're "too sensitive," like you "always overreact"
  • You are constantly doubting or second-guessing your own judgment
  • You are not allowed to wear certain clothes or makeup, or talk to certain people, or go to certain places
  • Your partner is excessively jealous and accuses you of things you did not do
  • You feel pressured or obligated to give your partner the passwords to all of your online / social media accounts
  • Your partner insults, ridicules, or humiliates you in private or in public
  • You start lying to avoid put-downs or reality twists from your partner
  • Your partner makes you feel guilty for having your own friends, interests, activities, goals, etc.
  • Your partner controls your finances and/or does not allow you to pursue or maintain a job
  • Your partner pressures or forces you to engage in sexual acts that you are not comfortable with
  • Your partner tells you that no one else will want you, no one else will love you, no one will believe you if you tell them about the abuse

Source: National Network to End Domestic Violence


If you have experienced abuse, or if you are currently being abused, it is not your fault. You did not cause the abuse, and you are not responsible for the abusive behavior of someone else.

Know that your are not alone - there is help available.

To speak with an Advocate at A Woman's Place, call our 24-hour Hotline at 1.800.220.8116. Whenever you are ready, we are here to listen, to offer resources, and to support you with any next steps that you want to take.


Additional Links & Resources


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