Domestic violence or abuse, also called intimate partner violence, is not the same as an occasional argument between partners. Domestic violence is a pattern of abuse used by one person to control another.
Both men and women can experience intimate partner violence. It is a common form of violent behavior and is a major problem in the United States. Data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey shows that about 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced unwanted sexual contact, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime. Additionally, the data shows that nearly half of both men and women have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Here are some warning signs that could indicate someone you care about may be in an abusive relationship:
- Constant worry about making their partner angry
- Making excuses for their partner's behavior
- Unexplained marks or injuries
- Depression, anxiety, or noticeable changes in their personality
- Jealous or possessive behavior by their partner, including put downs in front of other people
If you are concerned that someone you care about is in an abusive relationship, you should consult with an expert on the best way to intervene. The National Domestic Violence Hotline recommends the following approach:
- Express your concerns gently and in a non-judgmental way.
- Encourage participation in activities outside of the relationship with friends and family.
- Encourage outreach to people who can provide help and guidance. Provide the number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-SAFE (7233).
- Continue to be supportive, no matter what someone decides to do.
For more information and guidance on helping someone who is experiencing intimate partner violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free at 800-799-SAFE (7233). You can also contact your Component Employee Assistance Program for guidance and additional resources.