Domestic Violence: In Our Own Backyard


Author: Salma Abugideiri, LPC | PFP Trainer & Advisor

These are some of the reactions people have when they watch survivors of domestic violence tell their stories in a short clip from the DVD Garments for One Another: Ending Domestic Violence in Muslim Families.

It is hard to dismiss the reality of domestic violence when you hear and see real people sharing their experiences with abuse. And it can be harder to wrap your head around how people can mistreat each other in this way. Harder still is the awareness of just how prevalent violence in relationships is.
Did you know that in the U.S. 1 in every 4 women, and 1 in every 7 men, experience severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner?*
Most people in a recent survey conducted by Peaceful Families Project & Project Sakinah said they knew someone who had been abused. And half of the research participants reported having experienced some form of abuse from a family member (spouse, parent, sibling, other relative) at some point in their lifetime. One third of the participants reported that they were abused at the hands of an intimate partner (spouse, fiancé, or boyfriend/girlfriend).[2]

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that is used to control or dominate another person in the context of an intimate or family relationship. The control tactics can range from verbal insults and mocking (verbal abuse), threats and intimidation (emotional abuse), pushing or hitting (physical abuse), unwanted sexual touching or sexting (sexual abuse), preventing access to finances (financial abuse). Neglecting one’s physical and emotional needs is also considered abusive and a form of domestic violence. For example, denying someone access to medical care, or denying them access to their home as a way to control behavior is abusive. Isolation from friends and family is another form of abuse.
So how do you know if you are in an abusive relationship, or if you may even be the one who is abusive?
The following list includes some signs that you may be in an abusive relationship. The questions in parentheses will help you assess if you are being abusive to your partner or other family member. More comprehensive information can be found here.
Are you afraid of, or intimidated by, your partner? (or is your partner afraid of/intimidated by you?)
Does your partner control where you go or whom you talk to? (or do you keep tabs on your partner?)
Is hitting or other forms of physical violence used to get you to do what your partner wants, or to punish you if you have not complied with your partner’s wishes? (or do you use your hands or threats of violence to make your partner comply or to punish your partner?)
Even though the behavior you experience is controlling, do you wonder if you are the one who is really crazy? (or do you tell your partner that she or he is crazy?)
Does he/she insist on having all your passwords to monitor your calls, accounts, etc? (or Do you insist on having all passwords so you can make sure you know what he/she is up to all the time?)
Does your partner humiliate you or criticize you constantly? (or do you constantly find fault with your partner and find ways to put your partner down?)
Does your partner blame you for the abuse? (or do you blame your partner for “being provoked” to hit or yell or curse?)
Does your partner threaten to hurt you or your loved ones, threaten to destroy your property, or make other threats? (or do you threaten your partner in order to get what you want?)
If you are in an abusive relationship, there are many places to go for help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7: 1-800-799-SAFE. They will help you find your local domestic violence resources if you are not aware of them. If you are ever in physical danger, do not hesitate to call the police. Talk to someone you can trust about what is happening in your relationship. Breaking the silence can be the first step towards ending abuse.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7:

Want to know more?
PFP offers several resources, including tips for how to respond when someone you know is being abused.
Cited Sources
*/[1] National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010.

[2] The Attitude of Muslim Men & Women Towards Domestic Violence, Peaceful Families Project & Project Sakinah Survey, 2011.
To learn more about the work of Peaceful Families Project, an initiative of UMR, please visit or click here.
The photo used in the header is credited below:

“Open your eyes – against women being abused” by denitza_design is licensed under CC BY 4.0 / Background expanded and Bulgarian text covered due to language barrier.