Abuse Comes in Many Forms.


Not all abuse is physical. Emotional abuse manipulates you into thinking you are not worthy of being loved, and that you are unable to thrive without your partner. He or she may isolate you from friends and family and verbally abuse you with insults. Victims describe having to “walk on eggshells” to avoid this sort of abuse.

Your partner may exert control over you by withholding money, preventing you from working, or sabotaging your job by calling constantly or making you miss work. Lack of financial independence is a key reason that victims remain in relationships longer than they should.

Emotional and verbal abuse are real. If your partner constantly belittles you and limits your financial independence, this sets the stage for you to be totally dependent on them and afraid to leave the relationship. This behavior is likely to escalate to violence.

Cycle of Abuse

Abusive relationships follow a predictable pattern, including a “honeymoon” phase which gives victims false hope that the perpetrator will change:

Tension: Your abuser creates a situation to justify the abuse and makes you believe you deserve it.
Incident: The abuse occurs. This phase can include emotional and verbal abuse, threats, or physical violence. 
Reconciliation: Your abuser apologizes and comes up with excuses to justify what they did. They may blame you for provoking it or try to convince you that it is not as bad as you claim.
Honeymoon: Your abuser wants you to stay in the relationship so during this phase he will do everything to convince you it won’t happen again.

This calm before the next storm lasts until the abuser decides that a new event has triggered the tension and the cycle begins again.



The best way to describe stalking is “unwanted pursuit.” Intimate partner stalking can range from leaving flowers at your door to slashed tires. Ultimately, it is a way for your partner to exert power over you through unwanted actions that make you afraid. Unfortunately, technology gives perpetrators even more ways to harass their victims.

Stalking often leads to violence. Eighty-one percent of stalking victims were later physically assaulted by that stalker and 89% of women killed by intimate partners were stalked in the year before their murder.

When it comes to stalking, it can be difficult for victims to distinguish between love and control. Is the constant texting or surprise visits at work love or extreme jealousy and control?  Experts suggest you trust your gut instincts. If it feels unhealthy to you, it probably is.

Source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence NCADV

Teen Dating

Teen dating violence (TDV) is a reality for nearly 1 in 11 females and 1 in 15 males in high school. TDV includes stalking, sexual violence, and physical and emotional abuse. If your boyfriend or girlfriend always pouts when you spend time with friends, calls you names, or humiliates you in public, these could be signs that your partner is trying to control you through emotional abuse. Forcing you to have sex or participate in any type of intimacy before you are ready is another red flag.

Teen dating violence occurs online with constant texting/stalking or threatening to share compromising pictures without your consent. The American Psychological Association warns girls to beware of boys who say, “It’s a guy thing” when confronted about aggressive behavior: “There is no ‘guy thing’ and no ‘girl thing,’ there is only the ‘right thing.’”

Source: American Psychological Association


Domestic violence occurs among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples at the same rate as the heterosexual community, but such incidents often go unreported. The LGBT victims suffer the same physical and emotional abuse as their heterosexual counterparts but when it comes to getting help, they face challenges including service providers who are not welcoming.

Two out of five gay and bisexual men report abuse, a rate comparable to rates reported among heterosexual women. Among lesbians, 78% report they have been in an abusive relationship. In the LGBT community, perpetrators emotionally abuse their victims by threatening to “out” them to family or employers. When one partner is HIV+, abuse may occur when one partner takes advantage of the other partner’s illness by threatening to “out” them, denying medical care, or manipulating their finances.

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Mid-south Resource

The Family Safety Center brings to one location the services necessary to help domestic violence victims in Memphis and Shelby County leave a violent situation. FSC revolutionized how our community serves victims who otherwise would have to travel to multiple locations for help. Own Your Hope is possible with support from AutoZone.

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