Domestic Abuse Resistance Team (DART) logo

Facts and Information

Warning Signs


Warning Signs

Early warning signs of violence may occur before a couple even lives together.

Some of these signs may include:

  • Ignoring or making fun of the partner’s needs and ideas
  • Having a violent temper
  • Being very jealous
  • Acting bossy
  • Controlling all finances
  • Forcing sex on the partner
  • A man who is battering a woman may:

  • Be very jealous
  • Have a bad temper
  • Have difficulty showing feelings other than anger
  • Sulk silently or go into a rage when upset
  • Threaten to hurt her, himself, or the children
  • Criticize and put her down, especially in front of others
  • Believe that women are not as good as men
  • Break things and/or abuse pets
  • Control all the money
  • Drink heavily or use other drugs and insist that she join him
  • Throw things at the woman or hit, shove, or kick her
  • A woman who is being battered by a man may:

  • Worry that he will be jealous
  • Be afraid of his temper
  • Go along with anything he says
  • Avoid friends
  • Seldom be seen with him in public
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Apologize a lot for his behavior
  • Let him make all of the decisions
  • Drink heavily or use other drugs
  • Information taken from: Domestic Violence brochure. Written by Nora J. Krantzler, PhD, MPH. ETR Associates, 1996.

    Barriers to leaving a violent relationship

    1. Fear of death Women are killed by intimate partners when leaving or after leaving the relationship.

    2. Lack of resources Most women have at least one child; many are not employed. Some lack access to cash or bank accounts. Many fear being charged with desertion, losing custody of their children, and losing control of joint assets. A woman and her children may face poverty if she leaves her abuser.

    3. Institutional responses Some clergy or marriage counselors are trained to see the goal of saving the marriage at all costs, rather than the goal of stopping the violence. Prosecutors are often reluctant to prosecute cases, and judges rarely levy the maximum sentence upon convicted abusers. Probation or a fine is much more common. Despite a protective order, there is little to prevent a released abuser from returning and assaulting his victim again.

    4. Values and beliefs Many women do not believe that divorce is a viable alternative; they believe that a single parent family is unacceptable and that even a violent father is better than no father. Many women are socialized to believe that they are responsible for making their marriages work. Many feel failure to maintain their marriage equals failure as a women. Many women become isolated from their family and friends, either to appease the jealous and possessive abuser or to hide signs of abuse from the outside world. The isolation contributes to a sense that there nowhere to turn. Many rationalize their abuser’s behavior by blaming stress, alcohol, problems at work, unemployment, or other factors. The abuser rarely beats the woman all the time. During the non-violent phases, he may fulfill the woman’s dream of romantic love. She believes that he is basically a good man--until something bad happens to him and he has to let off steam.


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