Domestic Violence

Women worldwide ages 15 - 44 are more likely to die or be maimed as a result of male violence than as a consequence of war, cancer, malaria and traffic accidents combined.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) afflicts one American woman in four and claims a life in the United States every six hours. Far more Americans, mostly women, have been killed in the last dozen years at the hands of their partners than in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

American women are twice as likely to suffer domestic violence as breast cancer, and the abuse is particularly shattering because it comes from those we have loved. 


  • 1 in 3 women will become victims of domestic violence in their lifetime
  • 1 in 3 teenage girls will be physically assaulted by a boyfriend
  • Domestic violence is the leading predictor of child abuse
  • Boys who witness domestic violence in their homes are 1500 times more likely to perpetrate abuse later in life
  • 50% of girls growing up in an abusive home will go on to be victims of abuse themselves

Relationship and Gender Breakdown of Adult domestic Violence Victims:

  • 56.5% (48) females killed by current or former intimate partners
  • 22.3% (19) males killed by others
  • 10.6% (8) males killed by current or former intimate partners
  • 9.2% (8) females killed by others

Additionally, Pennsylvania has the third highest number of murder suicides in the nation – including 14 cases in just six months.  Seventy-three percent involved an intimate partner – spouse, common-law spouse, ex-spouse, or girlfriend/boyfriend.  Of these, 94 percent were women killed by their intimate partners.

Recognizing Domestic Violence

Domestic violence occurs when one person in an intimate relationship exercises power and control over the other through a pattern of intentional behaviors, including psychological, emotional, physical and sexual abuse.  There is no way to define a “typical” victim of domestic violence – it can affect anyone from any socioeconomic, demographic, geographic or educational background. The greatest risk factor for victimization is simply being a woman.   

While most people are able to recognize an abusive relationship when it involves physical violence, relationships involving psychological or emotional abuse are more subtle, but no less destructive.  If allowed to continue, these behaviors can escalate to include more physically dangerous abuse over time.  It is important to recognize key characteristics of domestic violence so that abuse can be stopped before it becomes life threatening.  

The progression of violence is outlined below, and includes repeated use of one or more of the following behaviors.

Verbal Abuse:

  • Name-calling
  • Put downs
  • Yelling
  • Use of profanity
  • Unfounded accusations
  • Cruel and hurtful remarks
  • Degrading the victim in public
  • Diminishing accomplishments
  • Flying into rages

Physical Abuse:

  • Choking/Strangulation
  • Holding the victim down against their will
  • Throwing or breaking objects
  • Pushing
  • Shoving
  • Slapping
  • Biting
  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Using a weapon
  • Murder

Emotional Abuse:

  • Isolation
  • Ignoring
  • Controlling finances or employment
  • Lack of trust/Suspicion
  • Following or stalking the victim
  • Criticizing
  • Threats of suicide
  • Threats of taking away children
  • Threats of physical violence
  • Threats of murder
  • Minimizes or denies behavior, explosive or critical reactions

Sexual Abuse:

  • Rape
  • Forcing unwanted sexual acts
  • Use of weapons during sex
  • Forced sex involving multiple partners
  • Inflicts pain during sex
What If I Think Someone I Know Is Being Abused?


Disclaimer: This video contains graphic content.

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