Domestic Violence Hotline Numbers
TTY (English): 1.800.735.2966
TTY (Spanish/Español): 1.800.520.7309
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religion, gender, socioeconomic background, education level, or other aspect of diversity. The largest burden of domestic violence is perpetrated by men against women.
Domestic violence may occur within the following types of relationships:
Intimate Partner—persons who are married, divorced, dating (in an ongoing social relationship of an intimate/romantic nature) or previously dating whether living together or not living together, adults who have children together, and/or other persons who provide care.
Family Members—persons who are related by blood (parent/child, siblings, etc.), persons who are related by marriage or partnership (in-laws, step-parent/child, former step-parent/child, etc.), and/or adults who are living together or previously lived together but were not involved in a romantic/intimate relationship with one another.
Stalking—persons who do not fall into any of the above relationships, in which one person purposefully and repeatedly engages in an unwanted course of conduct toward the other person that could cause alarm to a reasonable person.
Domestic violence may take many forms, including but not limited to:
- Physical Abuse—Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon a partner, childhood physical abuse, denying one of medical care or other basic needs, etc.;
- Sexual Abuse—Forcing or attempting to force any sexual contact or behavior without consent, including marital rape, sexual assault, forced intercourse, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, treating one in a sexually demeaning manner, childhood sexual abuse, denying access to contraception or protection against sexually transmitted diseases, denying one the ability to make one’s own choices about the number of children to have or not have, etc.;
- Emotional/Psychological Abuse—Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem, including constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, belittling, humiliation, damaging one’s relationship with one’s children, causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work; restricting one’s access to information or assistance, etc.;
- Economic/Financial Abuse—Making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources; forcing an individual to work or turn over any sources of income or assets, withholding one’s access to money, forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment, etc.,
- Threats of physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological abuse;
- Any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound another person when used to establish a system of power and control.
Download a PDF of "What is Domestic Violence" here
Red Flags of Abuse
The following is a list of early warning signs that someone may be abusive.
- Wants to move too quickly into the relationship.
- Does not honor your boundaries.
- Is excessively jealous and accuses you of having affairs.
- Wants to know where you are all of the time and frequently calls, emails and texts you throughout the day.
- Criticizes you or puts you down; most commonly tells you that you are "crazy," "stupid" and/or "fat," or that no one would ever want or love you.
- Says one thing and does another.
- Takes no responsibility for their behavior and blames others.
- Has a history of battering.
- Blames the entire failure of previous relationships on their partner; for example, "My ex was a total bitch."
- Grew up in an abusive or violent home.
- Insists that you stop spending time with your friends or family.
- Seems "too good to be true."
- Insists that you stop participating in leisure interests.
- Rages out of control and is impulsive.
Pay attention to the “red flags “and trust your instincts. Survivors of domestic violence frequently report that their instincts told them that there was something wrong early on but they disregarded the warning signs and didn’t know that these signs were indicative of an abusive relationship. Always take time to get to know a potential partner and watch for patterns of behavior in a variety of settings. Keeping in touch with your support system and participating in good self-care can lower your risk of being involved in an abusive relationship. (From nnedv.org)
Who abuses and why?
People who abuse have a need to gain power and control in their relationships. Abusive personalities have common characteristics:
- Low self esteem
- Emotionally dependent
- Excessive jealousy
- Alternately charming then suddenly angry and violent
Examples of abuse include:
- name-calling or putdowns
- keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends
- withholding money
- sabotaging attendance at job or school
- punched walls, slammed doors, destruction of personal property
- using children to manipulate a parent's emotions
- use of fear and shame
- forced sexual contact
- sexist comments
- yelling and rages
- jealousy and possessiveness
- silent treatment
- unwanted touching
- shoving, strangling, ripping, slapping, biting, kicking, bruises, punching, scrapes, pinching
- violence to pets
- ridicule or public humiliation
- broken promises
- prevention of seeking medical and dental care
- threats: to harm family and friends; to take away the children; to harm animals; of being kicked out; of weapons; of being killed
If you find yourself in a violent relationship, please call the Hope House hotline at 816.461.HOPE (4673) for help (a local call for the Kansas City metro area). If you feel the need to do more research before making that call, we recommend the following websites for more in-depth information about recognizing domestic violence, creating a safety plan, protecting your identity and getting help:
Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
National Network to End Domestic Violence
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence