The following are common examples of physical abuse:
- Pinching or biting,
- Slapping, beating, or kicking,
- Backing you into a corner,
- Pinning you down,
- Throwing objects,
- Pulling your hair,
- Holding you captive,
- Breaking down a door to get to you,
- Preventing you from eating or sleeping,
- Locking you out of the house,
- Forcing your car off the road,
- Abandoning you in dangerous places,
- Keeping you from getting medical care,
- Spitting on you,
- Using or threatening to use a weapon against you,
- Driving at unsafe speeds to intimidate you,
- Refusing to help you when you are sick, injured, or pregnant,
- Withholding medications or medical treatment,
- Animal cruelty towards pets,
*When we refer to physical abuse, we are not talking about self-defense. Self-defense, or reactive violence, is a response to violence being committed against a person. The result of reactive violence does not create a system of dominance or control in the relationship.
*Sometimes people ask if a one time incident (i.e. throwing an object once) is always domestic violence. Contextualizing the incident in the relationship and looking at other forms of controlling behavior will help to determine if this is something that could escalate. However, a one-time incident can be a warning sign that future abuse could occur. In addition, a one-time incident may have the same effect of causing fear, limiting behavior, and long-term negative impact as continuing physical abuse. Contact a hotline if you have questions or concerns.
Return to Types of Abuse.