October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

DV Awareness Month

Domestic violence isn’t just something that happens between married couples. In fact 1 in 12 teens experience some form of domestic violence, with those who identify as women and/or LGBTQ+ being at higher risk. Women between the ages of 18-24 experience the highest rates of domestic violence. 

One of the things that makes domestic violence difficult to recognize, escape, and prevent is that it can take on many forms. Domestic violence, while most commonly thought of as physical or sexual, can also be technological, psychological, emotional, financial, and verbal. It’s important to learn what domestic violence can look like so you can recognize it and prevent it from happening to yourself and those you care about.


Physical domestic violence is often the most recognized and easy to spot but can include more than just hitting. Physical abuse can include:

  • Hitting, slapping, punching, kicking
  • Throwing objects at a person
  • Damaging personal property
  • Coercing partner into substance abuse
  • Stopping partner from eating or sleeping


Sexual abuse is about power, not sex, and includes any sexual behavior without the partner’s consent. Sexual abuse can include:

  • Forcing partner to dress in ways that are overly sexual and make them uncomfortable
  • Ignoring partner’s feelings regarding sex
  • Using the relationship as leverage to prove love
  • Insulting partner in sexual ways or calling them explicit names
  • Pressuring partner into sex, inimating fear, not accepting “no” as an answer


Emotional abuse is about controlling the partner through fear and manipulation of their emotions. This type of violence can include:

  • Extreme jealousy
  • Isolation, intimidation
  • Shame and humiliation
  • Blaming partner for everything
  • Making their partner feel bad about themselves


Financial abuse deals with anything relating to control of money, including employment. Financial domestic violence can include:

  • Harassing a partner at their workplace
  • Stealing money or items from partner
  • Preventing partner from working
  • Forcing partner to give them money
  • “Borrowing” money and not repaying partner


Psychological abuse often involves making the partner feel as though they are mentally incapable or doing things to actually mentally incapacitate their partner. This type of violence can include:

  • Gaslighting
  • Patronizing behavior
  • Playing mind games
  • Insulting your appearance, causing body dysmorphia or body distortion
  • Humiliating you in front of others, especially making you feel or seem stupid or childish


While technology can be a huge helpful tool to combat and prevent domestic violence, it can also serve as a way for abusers to control their partners. Technological abuse can include:

  • Monitoring interactions on social media
  • Controlling partner’s social media accounts
  • Demanding to know partner’s passwords
  • Using tracking devices on partner’s cell phone or car to monitor location, calls, and messages
  • Looking through partner’s phone, checking texts, pictures, and phone records


Verbal abuse often comes along with other types of abuse but can sometimes be more difficult to spot on its own. This type of violence can include:

  • Imitating or mocking their partner
  • Name calling, insulting, or yelling
  • Putting their partner down
  • Ignoring their partner
  • Threatening their partner or a person or thing that’s important to them

If you think that you or someone you care about may be a victim of abuse, it’s important to get help as soon as you feel it’s safe to reach out to someone. You can chat with a therapist on UpStreet to get advice or if you are in immediate or imminent danger, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.


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