Photo of Karen Lavin

There are very few situations scarier than being trapped in an abusive home or relationship. The sad truth is that some people do not realize that they are victims of domestic violence because physical abuse is not always involved. An act of abuse is simply an attempt to control or manipulate someone through actions, which can be non-physical. You deserve help and protection for yourself and your children if your partner engages in any of these actions.

Sexual abuse

Though some people would classify this as physical abuse, you should understand that not every sexual action is acceptable just because it is from your partner. If your partner forces you to have sex when you do not want to do so, that is abuse. They also should never force you to have sex with someone else or deny your desire for birth control/protection during sex. You can seek legal protection if this is happening to you.

Financial abuse

Too many victims are unaware that financial manipulation can count as abuse. Even if you and your partner have joint bank accounts and generally pay for necessities together, they do not have a right to control you. Your partner may not steal your money or force control over what you are allowed to buy. Some abusers may damage property or belongings to financially harm you through needed repairs. This is all abusive behavior.

Emotional/psychological abuse

This is a very broad category but the most important part to understand is that any type of manipulation or shaming could be considered domestic violence. Some examples include:

  • Verbally putting you down or insulting you
  • Acting jealous when you talk to or spend time with others
  • Preventing you from talking to or spending time with others
  • Tracking/monitoring everywhere you go
  • Stalking

Threats are another very common form of abuse. Threatening to harm or kill you, your children, your family, your friends or any other loved ones is abuse, even if they do not actually do it.

These situations are scary and they can be hard to escape. If you are trapped in a situation like the ones listed above or any other circumstance of manipulation and violence, you can seek orders of protection. You have allies. You do not have to suffer alone or deal with this abuse out of fear.