How to tell if you’re in an abusive relationship

1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Here are a few things to look out for.

1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

25% of high school girls have faced physical or sexual abuse.

16- to 24-year-olds have the highest rate of intimate violence.

A study found that 19% of undergraduate women had experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college.

The harsh reality is that abusive relationships are common, most abuse goes unreported, and it can happen to anyone. Your friends. A sister. Even you.

Abuse doesn’t have to be physical, either—emotional, sexual, or financial abuse can be just as damaging. That’s why we’re sharing a few things to look out for, just in case you sense something is wrong in your relationship or a friend’s. This list comes from The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Does your partner ever….

  • Embarrass you with put-downs?
  • Control what you do, who you see or talk to, or where you go?
  • Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
  • Push you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?
  • Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
  • Control the money in the relationship? Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money, or refuse to give you money?
  • Make all of the decisions?
  • Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away your children?
  • Prevent you from working or attending school?
  • Act like the abuse is no big deal, deny the abuse, or tell you it’s your own fault?
  • Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
  • Intimidate you with guns, knives, or other weapons?
  • Attempt to force you to drop criminal charges?
  • Threaten to commit suicide, or threaten to kill you?

Sometimes it’s hard to relate to a list like this, but read it again if you have to. Or check out another one to see if it resonates more.

Here’s something else to ask yourself: Does your partner deliberately try to control and interfere with your sexual and reproductive health? That’s reproductive coercion and it’s another thing that some abusers do when trying to control their partner.

No one should have to face abuse alone. We understand that there are many serious reasons why seeking help may feel impossible, overwhelming, upsetting, or dangerous. Please know that abuse is never your fault and that there are resources to help you protect yourself (or support someone in your life who may be dealing with abuse).

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, at 1-800-799-7233. And here are some more resources for support.

We believe in you,

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