The commonly held definition of abuse, is “a pattern of behavior used by one person to gain and maintain power and control over another.” One thing to note about that definition is that we are talking about a pattern of behavior, in other words, not just one incident. These behaviors can take on a number of different forms.


Hitting, slapping, kicking, punching, strangulation, burning, destroying personal property, using weapons, confinement


Calling names, insulting, blaming the partner for everything, jealousy, intimidation, shaming/humiliating, isolation, controlling what the partner does and where the partner goes, stalking


Forcing a partner to have sex with other people (human trafficking), pursuing sexual activity when the victim isn’t fully conscious or is afraid to say no, sabotaging birth control.


Hacking into partners email and personal accounts, using tracking device on phone/automobile to track location, text messages and phone calls. Monitoring social media interactions. Demanding to know partners passwords


Harassing partner at the work place, inflicting physical harm so they cannot attend work, controlling finances and giving partner an allowance, intentionally damaging partner’s credit score.

An abusive relationship can include any or all of these types of behaviors, sustained over a period of time and often escalating. If you or someone you care about is experiencing this and you want to talk to someone about your concerns, CODA’s hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-566-2632 to speak with a trained advocate who will listen without judgment.