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Helen Marie McCracken, Founder


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Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.

Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Domestic violence includes behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of domestic violence/abuse can be occurring at any one time within the same intimate relationship.

Dynamics of Abuse

Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different types of things to have power and control over their partner.


Why Do Victims Stay

Leaving is often the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse, because abuse is about power and control. When a victim leaves their abusive partner they are taking control back and threatening the abusive partner’s power, which could cause retaliation in very destructive ways.

Red Flag/ Warning Signs

There is no one sign by itself that is an indicator for identifying an abuser.  Often it is the combination of many things that reveal the severity.  There are however, many red flags you should learn about and avoid anyone who demonstrates them.

There is more than one single indicator for identifying an abuser.  Often it is a combination of many things compiled to reveal the severity.  There are however, many red flags you should learn about and avoid anyone who has these characteristics or habits.

Some of the red flags and warning signs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Verbal abuse used to belittle you, hurt your feelings or destroy your confidence
  • Controls every little thing; having you living on constant eggshells awaiting the next outburst
  • Possessive of you (i.e. who you see, talk to, where you go, what you wear and what you do etc.)
  • Unpredictable or constant mood shifts
  • Destruction of things important to you (i.e. cell phone, jewelry, pictures, etc.)
  • Jealousy of your relationship with others, including family members
  • Draws you away from your family by restricting communication and visits
  • Abuses other family members, children or pets
  • Threatens suicide or harming the children if you leave them
  • Causes fear for your safety if you do not abide by “the rules”
  • Abuses drugs or alcohol
  • Demands access to your cell phone, computer and social media, including all passwords
  • Stalks you & your activities (i.e. calls friends to ask where you are or what you’re doing, shows up where you are without you knowing, etc.)
  • Forces you to do or try things you do NOT want to do (including sex)
  • Wicked temper that can go off at any time or any place, even the smallest of issues
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Forces sex or disregards partner’s unwillingness to have sex
  • Does not allow the use of birth control
  • Inserts blame for everything bad that happens
  • Causes stress at work or school, which may lead to loss of job
  • Controls all the finances
  • Accusations of flirting with others or having an affair
  • Demeaning behavior privately or publicly
  • Embarrassment or humiliation in front of others

Physical violence is not a red flag!  It is DOMESTIC VIOLENCE… no other sign needed to confirm.