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If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence or stalking, The Friendship Center is here to help. Call our office or crisis line anytime of any day.

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive and violent behavior that is designed to establish and maintain power and control over one’s partner. This issue affects individuals regardless of age, education level, sexual preference, sexual identity, class, ethnicity, race, religion, marital status, etc.

Abuse occurs in many forms. Although it is not always easy to immediately recognize an abusive relationship, knowing some of the signs of domestic violence can help save a life.

Physical violence includes:

  • Pushing

  • Hitting

  • Biting

  • Spitting

  • Strangulation

  • Physical intimidation

  • Destroying possessions

  • Throwing objects

  • Burning

  • Harming children or pets

Emotional abuse includes:

  • Belittling

  • Name calling

  • Mocking

  • Humiliation

  • Cheating

  • Minimizing abuse

  • Shifting blame to the victim

  • Controlling and/or monitoring the victim’s behavior

  • Demeaning the victim in front of children, friends, or family

  • Threats to harm or kill the victim and/or the victim’s children or pets

  • Gaslighting

Economic abuse includes:

  • Controlling all of the finances

  • Preventing the victim from working

  • Creating debt for the victim without the victim’s consent or knowledge

  • Demanding the victim’s paycheck

  • Ensuring all assets are in their name rather than the victim’s

  • Controlling use of a vehicle

Stalking includes:

  • Following behavior

  • Constantly calling or checking in on the victim’s location and activities

  • Refusing to leave when asked

  • Leaving notes, “gifts,” or threats at your home, place of work, or car, etc.

  • Numerous and unwanted calls, text messages, or emails

  • Making unwanted visits

  • Controlling with whom the victim talks, hangs out, or interacts

In addition to these forms of abuse, sexual assaults frequently occur within a violent relationship. Please see the Sexual Assault page for more information on sexual assaults.

Stalking is also common within a violent relationship or after a violent relationship has ended; it can also occur without a violent relationship being present.

Despite popular belief and pop culture depiction, stalking is very dangerous. Stalking is nearly always present prior to a domestic violence homicide or familicide. Some stalking behaviors are obviously scary and threatening, but others don’t always appear scary on the surface. For instance, many times a victim is receiving gifts or messages from their current or former partner that may seem romantic to someone on the outside. However, the victim in that relationship has access to context that those on the outside don’t have. Endless “I love you” messages might be sending a message to the victim that their abuser owns them, and they will never have a moment of peace from this person. Gifts or notes being left on a victim’s car, might be sending the message that their abuser knows where they are and can reach them whenever they want to, making the victim feel unsafe no matter where they are or who they are with. Stalking is a pattern or harassing and controlling behavior that is devastating to the victim’s sense of self, safety, and peace.

Many people ask why a victim stays in a violent relationship. We believe this focus is on the wrong person. A victim of violence is being terrorized and controlled by their partner. Barriers to separation are endless and could include things such as: child custody, finances, housing, other economic resources, family or societal pressure, shame, legal barriers, and most importantly – safety.

The most dangerous time in a violent relationship, the time when a homicide is most likely to occur, is when a person leaves a violent relationship. A person still in a violent relationship may not be staying, but instead is planning how to leave that relationship safely. This is especially true when stalking is present.

There is a lot The Friendship Center can do to help. From safety planning, to helping with Orders of Protection and access to legal services, to offering emotional support, you do not have to go through this alone. We can also help friends and family who are struggling with what is happening to their loved one. Please reach out to our office or crisis line if you simply want to talk about the situation or want services.

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