Coercion & Threats

Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt the victim – threatening to leave them, to commit suicide, to report them to welfare, making them drop charges, making them do illegal drugs.

Economic Abuse

Preventing a victim from getting or keeping a job, making them ask for money, giving them an allowance, taking their money, not letting them know about or have access to a family home.

Using Male Privilege

Treating the victim like a servant, making all the big decisions, acting like the “master of the castle”, being the one to define men’s and women’s roles.

Using Children

Making the victim feel guilty about the children by using the children to relay messages, using visitation to harass them, threatening to take the children away.

Minimize, Deny & Blame

Making light of the abuse and not taking concerns about it seriously: saying the abuse didn’t happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying the victim caused it.

Using Isolation

Controlling what the victim does, who they see and talk to, what they read, where they go, limiting outside involvement, using jealousy to justify actions.

Emotional Abuse

Putting a victim down by making them feel bad about themselves, calling them names, making them think they’re crazy, playing mind games, humiliating them, making them feel guilty.

Using Intimidation

Making the victim afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things, destroying their property, abusing pets, displaying weapons.

What is domestic violence? What “counts” as sexual assault? These are common questions we get regarding the work that we do and the people we serve. Before diving into each violence form specifically, it’s important to note the common theme: power and control.

In both domestic and sexual violence, it is power, control and domination that one partner in the relationship seeks over the other. The abuser can exercise dominance through multiple means: physically, psychologically, financially, relationally, sexually, spiritually, etc. The wheel below demonstrates how power and control can be achieved through different example tactics to ultimately achieve what we consider sexual and/or domestic violence. Other forms of power-based violence include dynamics where one person is able to gain and/or maintain power over the other, making the other vulnerable:

  • Bullying
  • Dating violence
  • Stalking
  • Elder abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Workplace violence

You are already doing the best thing you can by reading this information and learning more about these serious and harmful issues. Please be sure to visit our pages on Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, Teen Dating Violence, Warning Signs, Intersectionality and Resources.