, intimate partner violence, relationship abuse, same-sex partner abuse – whatever you call it, it is present in all communities, including queer communities.
is a pattern of control exerted by one partner over another using coercive, threatening, and/or violent strategies. Control is often kept in place by isolating the victim, promoting fear, and narrowing options. Abuse is different than BDSM in that only one person determines what will happen, no consent is asked for or given, and the person being abused cannot stop what the abuser is doing.
There are many forms of abuse and control that can happen in relationships. It can include stalking, threats, intimidation, and physical violence. Often things start out at a much lower level, making an abuser hard to recognize. Early warning signs include possessiveness, jealousy, frequent mood swings, and anti-social behavior. Abuse usually escalates in frequency and severity over time. The best way to combat relationship violence is to become educated about it. The phone numbers and links on this page are a good place to start learning more about relationship abuse.
Whether it is you, or someone you know, there is help and support available
. Every state has a Domestic Violence Coalition (http://www.ncadv.org/resources/state.htm
) that can provide local information about hotlines, shelters, counseling, and law enforcement. There is a National Domestic Violence Hotline (www.ndvh.org
) that can connect people to local help and resources.