Family Violence/Sexual Assault

What is Family Violence?

  • Violence is not just hitting with a fist or getting hospitalized with an injury. 
  • It includes many different actions. 
  • Below is a list of different kinds of violence and some examples of each type.

Physical Violence: 

  • Any use of size, strength or presence to control or hurt someone else. 
  •     This can be put into three categories:    

Physical Contact Between People

  •     Pushing *Shoving *Trying to hit you with a car *Holding against your will *Grabbing 
  •     Attack with a knife *Biting *Slapping *Kneeing *Spanking *Hair pulling *Carrying against

               your will *Choking *Twisting your arm *Banging your head *Attack with object *Punching

  •      Child abuse  *Burning *Pushing you out of a car *Forced Sex.

Physical Use of Objects

  •     Throwing Things *Slamming doors *Punching walls
  •    Breaking Personal Objects *Tearing clothes *Sweeping things off the table
  •     Driving recklessly *Breaking a car windshield

Use of Presence or Size

  •     Blocking the doorway *Unplugging the phone *Standing behind the car
  •     Taking money/checkbook or credit/bank cards *Clenching fists *Taking car keys

And then there is the "unseen violence"

 Emotional Violence

  •     Threats of suicide *Not keeping a job *Questioning money spent
  •     Following you *Checking up on you *Criticizing your looks
  •     Using drugs/alcohol *Manipulating with lies *Saying you are stupid
  •     Intense jealously *Withholding sex *Unfounded accusations
  •     Laughing at you *Saying you are helpless *Saying no one else will want you
  •     Constantly questioning where you were/who you were with



  • CONFUSION. One day he worships her and places her on a pedestal. The next day she doesn’t meet his expectations and falls from grace. It is a long fall, and she can’t understand why he has changed from a loving, generous husband into a maniacal bully who delights in punishing her. A day or two later, he places her back on the pedestal and turns on the charm. This emotional up and down strategy keeps her off-balance and in a state of confusion.
  • FEAR. She has every reason to be afraid. He has threatened to take the children away from her if she leaves, and she believes he can. He will lie in court and testify that she is not a good mother and get his friends and family to do the same. If he does not get custody, he will kidnap them. In extreme cases, he will kill her and the children. She also fears the condescending and judgmental reactions of others who believe she is responsible for breaking up the family if she leaves. She may also fear offending God because she has been taught He hates divorce, and she doesn’t understand that God also hates violence, and has great compassion for those who suffer abuse.
  • SELF-BLAME. She may feel responsible for the break-up of the family, or for the abuser’s behavior. He has told her over and over she is the reason he gets so mad and she makes him act that way.
  • SHAME and EMBARRASSMENT. She doesn’t want to tell anyone because it is embarrassing to admit she has allowed herself to get into, or stay, in this situation. She is ashamed of making poor decisions, and failing to make her marriage work.
  • NEED TO PROTECT ABUSER. Some women feel guilty for betraying the abuser. She believes he needs extra love and care because he was abused in the past. She feels it is her responsibility to help him become a better person and overcome his problems.
  • DISASSOCIATION FROM THE PAIN.    The abuser convinces her that the violence wasn’t as bad as she claims, or that it didn’t happen at all. Sometimes he accuses her of hitting him, even though she is the one with the bruises. Her body feels the pain, and she knows she has been hurt, but her mind tells her it really wasn’t that bad. 
  • DENIAL. Even though she knows he has hurt her in the past, she cannot believe he is truly an evil person because she would not choose to be with such a person, and she still really loves him. Most women face extreme financial, social, and emotions hardships when they leave and often find limited or no help available to them. 
  • IGNORANCE OF FACTS AND CONSEQUENCES.    She believes the cause of violence is within her instead of within the abuser. She believes it is a temporary problem based on outside circumstances (like stress at work). She believes that once the stress is relieved the abuse will stop, or “If I lose weight, or learn to cook, or keep the kids quiet, or give him more attention. etc., he will love me more".
  • BLAMED and ABANDONED.  Doctors, therapists and clergymen don’t take the abuse seriously enough and advise women to go back home. Some will tell her to just leave, but refuse to help. After all, aren’t there shelters for people like that?
  • LIVES ON FALSE HOPE. She believes that if she tries a little harder or waits a little longer, things will get better.
  • SHE MAY GET KILLED. A woman is at greater risk of harm from her abuser when she leaves and she knows that, although she may not admit it. Once the abuser feels he will actually lose control, that is when he becomes the angriest. She may also become homicidal or suicidal; believing the only way she can get out is to kill herself or him.
Sexual assault can come in many forms. 
  • Rape
  • Acquaintance Rape
  • Partner Rape
  • Stranger Rape
  • Male Sexual Assault
  • Incest
  • Hate Crimes
  • Dating/Domestic
  • Drug Facilitated
  • Sexual Exploitation