Learn About Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is ...

A pattern of coercive and assaultive behaviors that one former or current intimate partner—spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend—uses to have power and control over the other. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or digital, and it can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, or gender.

Financial abuse

Can include: giving you an allowance, not letting you have your own money, hiding family assets, running up debt, interfering with your job, and ruining your credit.

Physical abuse

Can include: hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, strangling, smothering, using or threatening to use weapons, shoving, interrupting your sleep, throwing things, destroying property, hurting or killing pets, and denying medical treatment.

Emotional abuse

Can include: constant put downs or criticisms, name calling, acting superior, minimizing the abuse or blaming you for their behavior, threatening and making you feel fearful, isolating you from family and friends, excessive jealously, accusing you of having affairs, and watching where you go and who you talk to.

Digital Abuse

Can include: telling you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook, stealing or insisting on being given your passwords, using social media to keep constant tabs on you, sending you unwanted, explicit pictures and/or demanding you send some in return, looking through your phone frequently, checking up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.

Sexual abuse

Can include: physically forcing sex, making you feel fearful about saying no to sex, forcing sex with other partners, forcing you to participate in demeaning or degrading sexual acts, violence or name calling during sex, and denying contraception or protection from sexually transmitted diseases.


Domestic violence is never the fault of the victim

And it can be hard for many reasons, including safety, to end the relationship. If you are in imminent danger, call 911. If you need to speak with an advocate, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text 1-800-787-3224.

For more information about the dynamics of domestic violence, you can watch Domestic Violence: Living In Fear, a documentary produced by Nashville Public Television that features The Mary Parrish Center. It is linked below or available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dNrb5fe7kY.

You may also download and view the following Power and Control Wheels that detail what happens in abusive relationships.

Power and Control Wheel

Power and Control Wheel - Spanish

Immigrant Power and Control Wheel

LGBTQ Power and Control Wheel