Vest Solano

Seeing the Signs: Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Part 1

Are You Being Abused by Your Partner, Friend or Family Member [Abuser]?

When you hear the terms “Domestic Violence” and “Sexual Assault” you might think you know exactly what that is. But did you know that these types of malicious behaviors can also be very subtle and hard to recognize. Moreover, through frequent occurrence or how due to biased societal practices or beliefs, you may have become desensitized and become trained to think some types of domestic violence and sexual assault are actual acceptable, rational behaviors.

This is due to the fact that the abuser either consciously or unconsciously understands that these types of abuse is actually mostly about controlling someone’s mind and emotions. Of course, in order to accomplish this they may hurt your body to attain this control, but many times it doesn’t. Abuse often leaves you frightened and confused. It makes it difficult to see your abuser’s actions for what they are. That they are really just ways to control you. In addition, physical abuse isn’t what comes first. And the levels of abusive behavior can start with minor actions that slowly build up into more and more controlling and damaging actions. Often this includes cutting you off from other people to the point where you feel trapped in the relationship.

Have You Seen These Signs?

Controlling Behavior

  • Do you avoid discussing certain topics, saying what you think, or to saying “No” to having sex even when you don’t want to?
  • Does your Abuser threaten you or make decisions for you?
  • Does your Abuser often put you down and criticize you frequently?
  • Have you been accused you of having an affair?
  • Does your Abuser tell you how to look and what kind of clothes you should war?
  • Do you get blamed for being the person responsible for “making your Abuser” act in a controlling or hurtful manner (gaslighting)?
  • Are you afraid of your Abuser?

Indirect Physical Abuse

  • Have you ever been abandoned in a place you don’t know?
  • Have you been kept from eating, sleeping, or getting medical care when you need to?
  • Has your Abuser ever locked you in or out of your house?

Isolating Behaviors

  • Does your Abuser embarrass you in front of others, especially up to the point that it makes you want to avoid people?
  • Does your Abuser keep closely monitor where you go and whom you go with?
  • Do you have to ask permission to go see your friends and family?

Symptoms of Financial Abuse

  • Does your Abuser keep all the cash and any credit cards?
  • Have you been put on an allowance and/or have every item you have spent money on?
  • Is this allowance often too small to cover everything you need for even the minimum daily expenses?
  • Are you prevented from spending any money unless your Abuser approves of it in advance?
  • Have you been prevented from getting job or earning your own money?
  • On the other hand, does your Abuser take all or most of the money you earn away from you?
  • Has your Abuser ever stolen money from you or anyone close to you?

Sexual Abuse

  • Does your Abuser make you participate in any type of sexual activity or dress in any way during sex that makes you feel uncomfortable or is painful?
  • Have you been told that you owe your Abuser sex?
  • Does your Abuser refuse to use a condom or any other birth control when you want to?
  • Has your Abuser ever threatened or tried to give you an STD?
  • Have you ever been forced to have sex?

As the Abuse Intensifies 

  • Does your Abuser yell at you?
  • Does your Abuser throw things, break things or punch the wall when they are with you, whether they are directly angry at you or even something else?
  • Has your Abuser threatened to hurt you or someone close to you because of something you did?
  • Has your Abuser ever threatened to kill themselves, you or someone close to you?

Many of these signs of abuse may seem minor at first. Or, your abuser may have given you reasons or excuses why these abusive actions are normal and appropriate. But if you do see many of these signs, and you feel that you are being controlled or abused, you most likely are.

Watch This Video

Understanding the “Signs” of abuse is explained further in this talk by Francesca Anastasi, established entrepreneur and philanthropist. She is a domestic abuse survivor and has dedicated her life to helping reduce domestic abuse. This talk was originally delivered for a presentation on

What To Do

If you or those close to you are being physically hurt. GET HELP IMMEDIATELY! Separate yourself / yourselves from your abuser and contact 911 if it is an emergency situation. Even if you aren’t being hurt physically, you should get help as soon as possible. Contact a local domestic abuse center and start a conversation with an advisor or counselor. In Solano County and surrounding areas, you can reach out to VEST, Victims Empowerment Support Team by clicking here or email us at [email protected]. And wherever you are in the United States, you can always call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 [1-800-799-SAFE] or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY for Deaf/Hard of Hearing). This is available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Remember. Help is Here.