TYPES OF ABUSE
Domestic violence includes all acts of violence between people in families or intimate
relationships. Many people think of it as the deliberate physical assault of a woman by her male
intimate partner (i.e., a spouse, boyfriend). In recent years, society has come to recognize same-
sex partners as victims of domestic abuse. The laws in many states protect lesbian and gay
couples as well as elders abused by family members, ex-partners, roommates, and dating
Domestic violence, in any relationship, does not only mean physical abuse. In abusive
lesbian relationships, the perpetrator may use tactics other than physical violence or sexual
assault to maintain power and control over her partner. These tactics include:
Click on the Wheel to see more abuse tactics
- Emotional and verbal abuse: This type of abuse includes put-downs, public
humiliation, name-calling, mind games, manipulation and most other forceful attempts to
control a partnerís behavior and thoughts.
- Isolation: It is common for an abuser to be extremely jealous and insist that the victim
not see her friends or family members. The resulting feeling of isolation may then be
increased for the victim if she loses her job as a result of absenteeism or decreased
productivity or if the abuser insists that the victim quit her job to stay at home.
- Threats and intimidation: Threats, including threats of violence, suicide or severing ties
with friends, family or children, are a common tactic used by the batterer.
IMPORTANT: Emotional and verbal abuse, attempts to isolate and threats and intimidation
within a relationship may be warnings that physical abuse will follow. Even if it doesn't,
emotional abuse and threats are considered domestic violence.
Domestic violence is recognized as a crime in all states. But abuse victims are often reluctant to
testify in court because convictions for domestic violence can be difficult to obtain, and (as
stated previously) victims fear retaliation from the abuser.