About Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can be complicated and confusing. We can offer information and resources to help you understand it. If you have questions at any time, please do not hesitate to call to speak with an advocate at (509) 525-2570.

Identifying Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors carried out by one person in an intimate relationship to maintain power and control over their partner.

Physical and sexual abuse are part of a larger system of abuse, which firmly establish a pattern of intimidation and control in a relationship. The following are all signs of abuse.

  • Intimidation: Making you afraid by using looks, gestures or actions. Smashing things. Abusing pets. Displaying weapons.
  • Coercion and threats: Making or carrying out threats to do something to hurt you. Threatening to leave you, to commit suicide, to report you to welfare. Making you drop charges.
  • Emotional abuse: Putting you down. Making you feel bad about yourself. Calling you names. Making you think you’re crazy. Playing mind games. Humiliating you. Making you feel guilty.
  • Isolation: Controlling what you do, who you see and talk to, what you read and where you go. Limiting your outside involvement. Using jealousy to justify actions.
  • Minimizing, denying, blaming: Making light of the abuse and not taking your concerns about it seriously. Saying the abuse didn’t happen. Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior.
  • Using children: Making you feel guilty about the children. Using the children to relay messages. Using visitation to harass you. Threatening to take the children away.
  • Male privilege*: Treating you like a servant. Making all the big decisions. Defining men’s and women’s roles.
  • Economic abuse: Preventing you from getting or keeping a job. Making you ask for money. Giving you an allowance. Taking your money. Not letting you know about or have access to the bank account.
  • Sexual abuse: Making you do sexual things against your will. Physically attacking the sexual parts of your body. Treating you like a sex object.

*The YWCA provides services for male survivors. Men can experience both domestic violence and sexual assault. 

Domestic violence warning signs

  • Checking up on or trying to control you
  • Putting you down
  • Acting jealous or possessive and saying it’s a sign of love
  • Destroying or threatening to destroy your belongings
  • Threatening to hurt you, your friends, family members or pets
  • Touching you in a way or at times that are uncomfortable
  • Blaming you or other people for things
  • Getting angry in a way that scares you or others
  • Saying that your concerns about the relationship are unimportant or not real

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these things in a relationship, please call and speak with an advocate at (509) 525-2570.

Forms of domestic violence

Domestic violence takes many forms. It may be a combination of some of the following, or include elements not listed below. If you think you may be experiencing this, or you know someone who is, please call us. The YWCA is here to support you.

Pre-battering violence: Verbal abuse, hitting objects, throwing objects, breaking objects and making threats.

Physical violence: Physical violence may vary in severity.

  • Beginning: Pushing, grabbing, restraining
  • Moderate: Slapping, pinching, kicking, pulling hair
  • Severe: Hitting, choking, beating with objects, use of weapons, rape

Psychological violence: Jokes and insults, ignoring your feelings, yelling, name calling, targeting, degrading your culture, nationality, profession or religion, making you financially dependent, demanding excessive attention, threatening children or the marriage, threatening and/or abusing children and/or family, eliminating support systems, isolating you, questioning your sanity, threatening suicide.