Definitions of Domestic Abuse
1. "Domestic abuse is a series of acts that:
a) causes the victim to do something she doesn't want to do; and/or
b) prevents her from doing something she wants to do; and/or
c) causes her to be afraid."
2. Domestic abuse is not about losing control, but a systematic method of asserting and
maintaining, power and control over an intimate partner, or a situation involving an intimate partner.
3. Characteristics of domestic abuse include:
a) blaming someone else for the abuse;
b) denying the abuse ever occurred; and
c) minimizing the extent and/or impact of the abuse.
Selected Examples of Physical Abuse
1. Physical Contact: slapped your victim; punched your victim; strangled your victim.
2. Restraint: mechanically and/or physically disabled your victim's car; blocked your victim's
exit from a room, car and/or home; prevented your her from using the telephone.
3. Weapons: used weapons against your her; threatened your victim with a weapon;
threatened to buy and use a weapon on her/her children and/or pets.
4. Physical Effects: caused bleeding; bruising; broken bones/teeth; miscarriage; disfigurement;
visits to a doctor/emergency department.
Selected Examples of Emotional Abuse
1. Criticism: criticized your victim's family or friends; criticized the way she looks, her intelligence or the way she does things; accused your victim of abusing you.
2. Economic Abuse: made your victim account for her spending; withheld child support
payments; taken money from your victim without her knowledge and/or against her will.
3. Emotional Withholding: withheld information from your victim and/or lied to her; did
not give your victim validation or attention; didn't respect your victim's feelings, opinions,
rights and/or privacy.
4. Harassment: followed your victim around; checked up on your victim; embarrassed your
victim in public.
5. Intimidation: claimed to be "the authority", or to know the truth; used your size to
intimidate your victim; thrown things at or toward her.
6. Isolation: turned mutual friends and/or family members against your victim; denied her
access to telephone or the mail; withheld the car or car keys from your victim.
7. Pressure Tactics: badgered your victim; shouted over your victim; rushed your victim to
8. Threats: threatened to injure or kill your victim, her friends and/or her family; threatened
to injure or kill yourself; threatened to call DHHS and report her as an unfit parent.
9. Used Children: criticized your victim to the children; undermined your victim's authority
with the children; denied paternity.
10. Abused Pets: withheld food, water and/or shelter to a family pet; hitting, kicking and/or
throwing a family pet; maimed or killed a family pet.
Selected Examples of Verbal Abuse
- "You can't do anything right"
- "No one will ever want you but me"
- "It'll never happen again"
Selected Examples of Sexual Abuse
1. Contact: pressured or forced your victim to have sex; had affairs; forced your victim to
engage in risky and/or unsafe sexual behaviors, expose her to sexually transmitted diseasses.
2. Coercion: pressured your victim to look at pornography; made degrading sexual comments
to your victim; made threats to have affairs.
3. Male Privilege: been the "master of the castle"; used the "good old boy network"; used "might vs. right".
If you feel you have been a victim of domestic abuse, please contact:
- Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence at www.mcedv.org or call 1 866 834-4357
If you feel you have been a victim of sexual assault, please contact:
Examples and Types of Domestic Abuse