Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviors that one person uses over another to gain power and control. Domestic violence may include verbal abuse, emotional/mental/psychological abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse and sexual abuse.  Although each can be experienced separately, there is considerable overlap among these forms of abuse, where two or more are commonly experienced.

Not all domestic violence cases are physical. Most experience verbal and emotional/mental abuse and sometimes never the physical abuse. In intimate partner/relationship violence, one partner in the relationship attempts to control the other through these various dynamics of abuse. Most times, the abuse starts in a very subtle manner and is often not identified as abuse.

Statistically, most offenders are men and victims are women; however, men can be victims of domestic violence as well. Whether the victim is male or female, violence of any kind in a relationship is unacceptable.

Domestic violence occurs across all income levels, cultures, religions, ages, ethnic backgrounds, races and neighborhoods. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals experience domestic violence at the same rate as heterosexual individuals.

Independence House offers individual counseling, advocacy and group counseling  for survivors of domestic violence, specifically intimate partner violence.  All of our activities are individualized to each person’s situation. 

Sometimes there are warning signs that may indicate an abusive relationship:

Warning Signs of Abuse*

*From Jane Doe, Inc. – Massachusetts Coalition of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Programs.

Check this list of warning signs to help answer the question: Am I Safe? These behaviors may indicate that you or someone you know is suffering from an abusive relationship.

Are you with someone who…..

  • Is jealous and possessive toward you, won’t let you have friends, checks up on you, won´t accept breaking up?
  • Tries to control you by being very bossy, giving orders, making all the decisions; doesn’t take your opinion seriously?
  • Is scary? You worry about how they will react to things you say or do? Threatens you, uses or owns weapons?
  • Is violent: has a history of fighting, loses temper quickly, brags about mistreating others?
  • Pressures you for sex, is forceful or scary around sex? Thinks of you as a sex object? Attempts to manipulate or guilt-trip you by saying “If you really loved me you would…..”?  Gets too serious about the relationship too fast?
  • Abuses drugs or alcohol and pressures you to take them?
  • Blames you when they mistreat you? Says you provoked them, pressed their buttons, made them do it, led them on?
  • Has a history of bad relationships and blames the other person for all the problems?
  • Believes that men should be in control and powerful and that women should be passive and submissive?
  • Has hit, pushed, choked, restrained, kicked, or physically abused you?
  • Your family and friends have warned you about the person or told you they were worried for you safety?
  • If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, has threatened to ‘out’ you to family, friends, or co-workers if you don’t comply with certain demands?
  • If you are an immigrant, has threatened or tried to turn you in to authorities and get you deported?

If you answered “YES” to any of these questions in thinking about yourself or someone you know, you are not alone. You can call and speak to a staff member/volunteer at Independence House. Clients do not need to leave the relationship or press charges to obtain services from Independence House.  All services are free and confidential.

Childcare may be provided to survivors upon request during individual or group counseling sessions.

For more information regarding our Domestic Violence Program contact: DebF@indhouse.net

Promoting Safe and Healthy Relationships