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Home > Fitness & Health > Health Library > Domestic Abuse
Everyone gets angry from time to time. Anger and arguments are normal parts of healthy relationships. But anger that leads to threats, hitting, or hurting someone is not normal or healthy. It's a form of abuse. Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse is not okay in any relationship. When it occurs between spouses or partners or in a dating relationship, it is called domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is also called intimate partner violence or domestic violence. It isn't the same as having an argument now and then. It is a pattern of abuse used by one person to control another.
Along with violence between intimate partners:
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, at any age. It doesn't matter what race or religion people are, what their level of education is, or how much money they make. It's a common form of violent behavior and is a major problem in the United States.
Does your partner:
If any of these things are happening, you need to get help. It's important to know that you are not alone. The way your partner acts isn't your fault. There is no excuse for domestic violence. Help is available.
Living in an abusive relationship can cause long-term health problems. Some of these health problems include:
People who are sexually abused by their partners have a greater chance of having sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, and other problems.
Violence can get worse during pregnancy. People who are abused are more likely to have problems such as low weight gain, anemia, infections, and bleeding during pregnancy. Abuse during this time may increase the baby's risk of low birth weight, premature birth, or death.
Abusers often blame the victim for the abuse. They may say "you made me do it." This is not true. People are responsible for their own actions. They may say they're sorry and tell you it will never happen again, even though it already has.
If you are in an abusive relationship, ask for help. This may be hard, but know that you aren't alone. Your family, friends, fellow church members, employer, doctor, or local police department, hospital, or clinic can help you. National hotlines can also help you find resources in your area.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, is a pattern of abuse in which one person uses fear and intimidation to gain power and control over a partner or family member. It may involve physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, such as:
Sexual abuse is any type of sexual activity that is done against your will. It can be:
If you have just been sexually abused or assaulted, try to preserve any evidence of the attack.
Physical abuse may include:
Neglect is a form of abuse. It happens when caregivers do not protect the health and well-being of the person they are supposed to take care of.
Two common types of neglect are:
Based on your answers, you may need help right away.
Call your local hospital, clinic, or police department, or call an abuse hotline.
You may also call 911.
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call 911 or other emergency services now.
Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.
Based on your answers, you may need help soon.
Call your local YMCA, YWCA, hospital, clinic, or police department, or call an abuse hotline.
If you are in an abusive relationship, it's very important to make a plan for dealing with a threatening situation. If your partner has threatened to harm you or your child, seek help.
If you are in an abusive relationship, ask for help. This may be hard, but know that you aren't alone. Help is available.
If you no longer live with a violent partner, contact the police to get a protective order (restraining order) if your abuser continues to pursue you, threaten you, or act violently toward you.
If you've been a victim of abuse and still have problems related to the abuse, you may be affected by depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Here are some things you can do to help a friend or family member who is in an abusive relationship:
The most important step is to help your friend contact local domestic violence groups. There are local programs across the country that provide options for safety, support, needed information and services, and legal support. To find the nearest program, call:
Call a doctor if problems from violence or abuse occur more often or are more severe.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared for your appointment.
Current as of:
February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineH. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
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