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What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is when one person uses any form of emotional, physical, social or sexual abuse to control or manipulate another person.  This includes child abuse, elder abuse, sibling abuse and intimate partner abuse.  It happens in relationships where the balance of power is unequal.

~Safe Harbors’ mission is to promote the establishment of a community where violence and abuse are not acceptable. 

~Safe Harbors’ primary purpose is to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and to provide community education to break the cycle of violence.

 This information was created to provide insight and information  
     regarding domestic violence. This information may help you
     to understand what an equality based relationship looks   
     like compared to a relationship that is based on one person 
     having power and control over another. 

~Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, no matter what your racial or cultural background may be, what type of education you have, how much money you have or what your religious beliefs may be. 

~The emotional effects of domestic violence can often be more devastating than the physical assaults.  Victims can lose touch with friends and family due to the abuser’s attempts to isolate them.  As a victim’s support system breaks down, so does his or her self-esteem.  Domestic violence affects every family member, even if he or she has not been abused.

~Domestic violence is not a single event and often becomes more severe and frequent over time.  Many batterers are not violent in their other relationships, such as at work or with friends.  They routinely deny the abuse and the severity of the violence.  When confronted with abusive behavior, they tend to blame their partner for provoking it or refuse to accept responsibility.

~Besides physical violence, abusers may use emotional and verbal abuse, isolation, and threats to maintain power and control over their partners.  Threats, whether of violence, suicide, or taking away children, are a very common tactic used by batterers.


For the ease of publication in this information we refer to the batterer as “He” as 95% of abusers are men (95% of all domestic violence is perpetrated by men against women.  National Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, 1997).
Of the remaining 5%, 3% consists of same sex battering and 2% female batterers.


© 2008 Safe Harbors