Domestic Violence


Domestic violence is often experienced as a combination of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. Following are some examples of the range of battering and abuse that can occur. This list includes examples of behaviors and actions that are violent and abusive. In working with women to assess their experiences with domestic violence, include questions such as, “Does your intimate partner do any of these things to you?”

Physical Abuse

  • Pushes her
  • Injures her with slaps, kicks and punches
  • Exposes her to risks, such as reckless driving
  • Throws objects
  • Threatens or injures with a weapon
  • Physically prevents her from leaving the house
  • Locks her out of the house
  • Abandons her in dangerous places
  • Refuses to help when sick, injured or pregnant
  • Prevents from seeking medical care
  • Keeps her awake at night against her will
  • Refuses to buy food or other articles necessary (for the family)
  • Destroys her property
  • Abuses the children
  • Threatens to injure her family or friends

Sexual Abuse

  • Treats women as sex objects
  • Withholds sex and affection
  • Forces her to strip when she doesn’t want to
  • Commits cruel sexual acts
  • Forces her to have sex against her will, rapes her
  • Forces her to have sex after a beating
  • Extremely jealous, accuses her of having affairs
  • Forces her to watch and/or repeat pornographic acts

Emotional Abuse

  • Continually criticizes her, yelling and/or insulting (e.g. telling her she is too fat, too skinny, too stupid, bad mother, bad partner, bad lover)
  • Ignores her feelings
  • Ridicules her most valued beliefs
  • Denies her affection as punishment
  • Refuses to work and share financial responsibilities
  • Keeps her from working
  • Manipulates her with lies and contradictions
  • Insults family and friends to drive them away
  • Refuses to socialize with her
  • Prevents contact with family and friends
  • Keeps her from using the telephone
  • Controls the money and makes all financial decisions
  • Humiliates her in public
  • Harasses her at work
  • Threatens to leave or throw her out of the house
  • Threatens to kidnap the children
  • Punishes or deprives the children

(Developed for Casa Myrna Vazquez, Inc. and sponsored by the Boston Healthy Start Initiative)