What is Abuse?

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, spiritual, financial, or technological abuse. It is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects thousands of individuals in Connecticut regardless of age, gender, economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or education. Types of abuse include:


  • Physical: Scratching, biting, grabbing, spitting, shoving, slapping, punching, burning, choking, damaging property, threatening to attack you with a weapon or kill you. 
  • Emotional/Psychological: Name calling, put-downs, insults, constant criticism, accusing you of flirting or cheating, isolating you from friends, co-workers, and family members, threatening to harm you, your children, pets, or relatives. 

1. Gaslighting: Constantly second-guessing yourself, your feelings, your perception of reality, your memories, and even doubting your sanity. 

2. Smear Campaigns: Attempting to ruin the victim’s reputation or call their character into question by spreading hateful lies and rumors, twisting the truth, and planting false seeds about the victim’s character in the minds of their friends, family and co-workers. 

3. Victim Blaming: Assuming that the victim is responsible for the abuse they have endured, when in reality, abuse is a conscious choice made by the abuser intended to exercise power and control. Abusers may defend their behavior by saying you provoked them, pressed their buttons, or deserved it, and/or attempt to justify their actions by using mental health issues, substance abuse, or exposure to childhood trauma as an excuse for their behavior.


  • Stalking/Harassment: Making unwanted appearances or sending unwanted messages (voicemail/texts/emails), utilizing technology to track your whereabouts via GPS without your knowledge. 
  • Economical/Financial: Withholding money or giving an allowance, monitoring your spending, hiding assets, running up debt in victim’s name, sabotaging employment opportunities’ or jeopardizing employment, not allowing you to work. 
  • Sexual: This is ANY sexual encounter that happens without your consent, including unwanted touching, or kissing, rape or attempted rape, sexual contact with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or unconscious, pressuring you to take/send sexual pictures, forcing you to perform sexual acts on film or in person for money, pressuring you to engage in sexual activity, making you feel obligated to have sex because you “owe” them - because you’re in a relationship, because you’ve had sex before, because sex is the only way to prove love, or because they did something nice for you (ex:spent money on you or bought you a gift). 
  • Reproductive Coercion: Restricting access to contraceptives such as birth control pills or condoms, sabotaging agreed upon methods of contraception, denying you protection against sexually transmitted infections, forcing you to either carry a pregnancy to term or have an abortion against your wishes, continuously getting you pregnant as a means of control. 
  • Technological: Monitoring phone calls, texts, emails, and car and computer use, keeping tabs on you, making you “check in” with your partner, demanding passwords to your devices/social media accounts, looking through your phone without your permission, tracking you using GPS on your phone or in your vehicle, sending private photos of you to others. 
  • Identity-Based: Violence committed against people based on facets of their identity, be it their race, ethnicity, nation of origin, language, socioeconomic class, religion, gender identity/ expression, sexual orientation, ability, age, and/or political affiliation. 
  • Spiritual: Authority figures within places of worship or religious organizations claiming that they are God’s sole channel of communication and that they alone can rightly interpret God’s Word, presenting their words as absolute truth, misusing scripture to bolster their own authority and keep their members under their control.