Relationship Violence

Abuse can happen to anyone regardless of race, economic status, gender, sexual orientation, or where one lives. People stay in abusive relationships for many reasons including: fear, belief that their abuser needs help and will change, and because they care about the person.

You have rights in a relationship. Relationships should be built on a foundation of respect and should include qualities like honesty, openness, trust, support, and understanding.

What is relationship abuse?

Relationship Abuse can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner has ever:

  • Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.);
  • Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or strangled you;
  • Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place;
  • Scared you by driving recklessly;
  • Used a weapon to threaten or hurt you;
  • Forced you to leave your home;
  • Trapped you in your home or kept you from leaving;
  • Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention;
  • Hurt or threatened to hurt someone you care about;
  • Used physical force in sexual situations.

What can I do if I am being abused?

No one deserves to be in an abusive relationship and the abuse is not your fault.
Help is available.

  • If you are in immediate physical danger you can call 911; if you are not in immediate danger contact the UNH Police Department at (603) 862-1427.
  • If you have been injured you can go to the hospital or your doctors to get medical attention;
  • You can call SHARPP's 24-hour confidential Helpline at (603) 862-SAFE or stop by their office.  They provide free and confidential advocacy to survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual aharrassment, and stalking.  SHARPP provides support and services to survivors as well as friends, families and allies who may be affected by the trauma and/or looking for ways to support someone about whom they care. 
  • You can tell supportive family and friends what has happened. Friends and family may be able to offer support and resources;
  • You can attend a support group for survivors of relationship abuse;
  • You can create a safety plan for whether you are leaving or staying in the relationship;
  • You can take legal action; for example, applying for a protective order. A protective order is a court order telling your abuser to have no further contact with you or your friends and family.

(Content adapted from UNH SHARPP)