Understanding Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence? It takes many forms, but in general domestic violence is a pattern of violent and coercive behavior used by one partner in a relationship to control another. It affects all communities, regardless of income, race or religion. Domestic violence can include physical, emotional and sexual abuse, financial control and social isolation. Abusive partners use fear and intimidation to establish power and control over another person, including the threat or use of violence.

In Southern Nevada, families from all walks of life experience this devastating problem, which impacts the safety and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Safe Nest reaches thousands of people through counseling, confidential shelter, court advocacy, and education.

Read the following sections to see if you might be at risk, and learn about the path to safety and a promising future. You are not alone!

Review the Warning Signs

Young Woman with Black Eye

If you recognize any or all of these signs in your relationship, you may be experiencing domestic violence.

This has nothing to do with love; it is a sign of insecurity and possessiveness. Your partner questions every move you make; he may not let you go out alone and may limit your friendships with other people. He may act suspicious and accuse you of infidelity for no cause.

Controlling Behavior:
Your partner controls, or tries to control, everything in your life. He may criticize what you wear, who you choose as friends, or what you enjoy doing for yourself. Your partner insists on making all of the decisions about your home, finances, clothing and social activities.

Quick, Intense Romance:
Your partner claims it was "love at first sight" and pressures you to make a commitment.

Unrealistic Expectations:
Your partner is dependent on you for all of his needs and expects you to be the perfect lover, mother or friend. He says things like "If you love me, you would....." and "I am all you need/you're all I need."

History of Abuse:
Your partner may say he has hit others in the past, but that the former partner "made him do it."

Your partner cuts you off from all resources and criticizes your family and friends for meddling in your relationship or being a bad influence. He may move you to a new town where you have no social connections.

Placing Blame:
Your partner says "you’re the one making me angry” or "you're hurting me by not doing what I ask."

"Jekyll and Hyde" Personality:
Your partner displays sudden mood swings. One moment he will be kind and loving; and the next cruel and possibly violent. He may anger easily for seemingly trivial reasons.

Your partner belittles you in front of others, disregards your opinions or gets angry when you disagree with him, or calls you offensive names.