What is Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Hotline - 713.528.2121

Sexual Assault Hotline - 713.528.RAPE (7273)


One in four women will experience 

domestic violence in her lifetime.


What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Domestic violence also includes any actions or threats of actions that are used to influence another person.


If you or someone you know may be in an abusive relationship; please call our hotline at 713-528-2121 to talk to someone about it or click here to learn about our domestic violence services.


Domestic violence can be…

  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Emotional
  • Psychological
  • Economic
  • Spiritual


Does your partner…

  • Intimidate
  • Manipulate
  • Humiliate
  • Isolate
  • Frighten
  • Terrorize
  • Coerce
  • Threaten
  • Blame
  • Hurt, injure and/or cause bruising


Do you…

  • Have constant fear of your partner
  • Feel helplessness or emotionless
  • Believe you deserve to be mistreated
  • Feel humiliated
  • Feel embarrassed to disclose to your friends/family
  • Feel your partner blames you for their own abusive behavior
  • Feel your partner’s temper is unpredictable
  • Feel your partner always tries to control you


If you have experienced any or all of the above you may be in an abusive relationship; please call our hotline at 713-528-2121 to talk to someone about it or click here to learn about our domestic violence services.


Domestic violence often occurs in cycles, with periods of "normal or happy times" followed by increased tension and abuse. The cycle of violence repeats, sometimes over a period of months, sometimes within the same day. Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion. Domestic violence occurs in same-sex relationships, and men can be victim as well.


Types of Domestic Violence

Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc. are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.

Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, treating one in a sexually demeaning manner and controlling reproduction by sabotaging methods of birth control.

Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.

Economic Abuse: Making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.

Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include, but are not limited to, causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner's family or friends; destruction of pets and property; or forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.


Male Survivors of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can affect anyone. Anyone can be an abuser, and anyone can be a victim. Societal assumptions and prejudices about what constitutes manhood are largely responsible for male violence, but also impact how we see and respond to male victims. Perpetrators of domestic violence against male victims include female and male intimate partners, as well as caregiver abuse against elderly and/or disabled male victims.


  • Male victims face added barriers of not being believed or being ridiculed when they try to report.
  • Stereotyping of male victim-hood and the stigmas attached (he must be queer, soft, weak, or a ‘woman’) increases the sense of shame and makes men more reluctant to report.
  • Social attitudes that men should be strong and invulnerable influence our formal support systems, like the police, judicial and medical systems. Even as victims, men have a higher risk of losing custody, and thus may fear reporting.
  • These attitudes and resulting behavior often re-victimizes survivors, especially if they are gay/bisexual/transgender.


Other Types of Abuse

Elder Abuse and Abuse of Individuals with Disabilities

Elder abuse is the mistreatment of an elderly person by a family member or caregiver. Abuse of individuals with disabilities occurs when an intimate partner, family member or caregiver abuses someone of any age who has a disability. Abuse of elders and individuals with disabilities can include physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological abuse, financial exploitation, and/or neglect, including the denial of basic needs such as food and medical care.


Teen Dating Abuse

Approximately one in five high school female students say they were physically and/or sexually abused by their dating partner. Dating violence can happen among young people, and can affect youth regardless of social, economic, racial, ethnic, gender or sexual orientation differences. It can happen to both girls and boys. Learn more about teen dating violence at LoveIsRespect.org.


Child Abuse

Child abuse, or child maltreatment, is an act by a parent, caretaker, sibling, family member, or other person that results in physical or emotional harm to a child. Emotional abuse, physical abuse, and neglect are all different forms of child maltreatment. Child abuse must be reported by law.


Domestic Violence is everyone’s problem…
Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses and the community at large. Children who grow up witnessing domestic violence are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life, thereby increasing their risk of becoming society's next generation of victims and abusers.

Sources: National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Center for Victims of Crime, and WomensLaw.org.