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Domestic abuse is defined as a “pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship”. Learning the warning signs can be life-saving. Keep reading to learn abusive actions to look out for in your relationships, and those of your loved ones.

Red flags to look for:

1. Physical abuse

Physical abuse can range from hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, strangling, hair-pulling, biting, etc. It also includes driving recklessly while you’re in the car; preventing you from eating/sleeping; denying medical care or forcing alcohol/drug use; abandoning you in unfamiliar places, and putting you in danger.

2. Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.

3. Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes but is certainly not limited to marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.

4. Financial abuse

Economic abuse is making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money, or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.

5. Digital abuse

Digital abuse is when a partner utilizes technologies to bully, harass, and intimidate. It can include controlling your online activity, like who you can and can’t be friends with on Facebook, to insisting on having all of your online passwords to keep tabs on your online accounts. It can also include using technology to monitor where you are, like spyware on your GPS or phone.

Recognizing violence in our community

Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone, despite age, race, sexual orientation and more. While it’s hard to know exactly what someone is going through, there are key signs to keep a lookout for. According to the National Hotline of Domestic Violence, warning signs can include:

  • Their partner puts them down in front of other people
  • They are constantly worried about making their partner angry
  • They make excuses for their partner’s behavior
  • Their partner is extremely jealous or possessive
  • They have unexplained marks or injuries
  • They’ve stopped spending time with friends and family
  • They are depressed or anxious, or you notice changes in their personality



No matter what form of abuse you are dealing with, whether it is physical or digital, you deserve better. You are not alone. Last year HOPE helped over 2,000 people find safety, strength, and well-being. We offer a variety of free and confidential services to empower women in Manatee County, FL. We are only a phone call away to bring HOPE to you or someone you know. Reach our 24-hour Help Line at  (941) 755-6805 (V/TTY).

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