What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by one individual to control or exert power over another individual in the context of an intimate relationship.

Pattern: a wide variety of abusive behaviors that often increase in frequency and intensity over time.

Abusive behaviors: include, but are not limited to, verbal assaults and threats, emotional abuse, including intimidation, humiliation, and isolation, cyber and technology-facilitated abuse, physical and sexual assaults, the use of weapons, the destruction of property, and violence toward others significant to the victim.

Controlling or exerting power over another: ongoing behavior on the part of the abuser in relationships designed to maintain power over the partner(s).

Intimate relationship: a relationship between two individuals that is or has previously been intended to provide emotional and/or physical intimacy.

What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence is conduct of a sexual nature which is non-consensual, and is accomplished through threat, coercion, exploitation, deceit, force, physical or mental incapacitation, and/or power of authority.

Non-consensual: without permission, agreement or approval.

Threat: a behavior, statement, or expression that communicates the intention of someone to cause physical, emotional, or psychological harm to another.

Coercion: compelling another to act through manipulation and/or taking advantage of circumstance, personality, and/or emotions (e.g. guilt, fear, pity, anger).

Exploitation: the unjust treatment of a human being as a commodity or an object and without consideration for their well-being, for another’s benefit.

Deceit: communicating a lie, an untrue statement, or creating a false circumstance.

Force: to use one’s physical strength to make another person act against their will.

Physical or Mental Incapacitation: when one is not able to comprehend, process, communicate, and/or act on their own behalf due to a physical disability, a mental health disability, a cognitive disability, an injury, and/or the influence of a controlled substance such as alcohol, prescription medication, and illegal drugs.

Power of authority: manipulating and/or taking advantage of one’s perceived higher social and/or professional standing over another to influence their thought, opinion, or behavior.

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