Domestic violence awareness month: Learn about domestic violence and support FOAS Empowerment Buddies in Arizona

Jenifer Knighton

Domestic violence in simple terms

Domestic violence is a broad term that encompasses a pattern of coercive and controlling behavior that can include physical abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse and any other behavior that the perpetrator uses to gain and maintain power and control over their victim. The frequency and severity of abuse can vary, but one thing that stays the same is that the abuser always tries to keep power and control over the victim. Oftentimes, it takes a survivor six to eight attempts to leave a relationship before they are able to do so for good.

Domestic violence and intimate partner violence are often used interchangeably. Men, women, and children can be victimized regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, economic status, religion, or nationality.

Even if you haven't been a victim of domestic violence, learning about it and how it might manifest itself in relationships is the first step towards helping victims create a culture that stops victim blaming and has zero tolerance for abuse.
Photo credit: Jenifer Knighton

Warning signs to explore

The most obvious signs of domestic violence are usually physical and sexual assaults. However, abusers do other things on a regular basis in conjunction with physical or sexual attacks as well.

Although physical attacks may only happen once in a while, they can cause the victim to fear future attacks, which results in the abuser maintaining power and control over the victim's life. 

Keep in mind that even if the abuser in a relationship doesn't physically assault their victim, it doesn't mean he or she isn't abusive and dangerous. Emotional abuse can be just as bad, if not worse than physical abuse. Other things that abusers do can include:

  • They move quickly in a relationship and/or jump from relationship to relationship.
  • They seem secretive or lie about past relationships.
  • Intimidating or threatening the victim with weapons such as firearms, knives, or other objects.
  • Hurting or threatening to hurt or kill the victim’s friends, loved ones or pets.
  • Pressuring the victim to have sex or do things sexually they are not comfortable with.
  • Forcing the victim to have sex with others.
  • Refusing to use protection when having sex or refusing victim to use birth control.
  • Controlling who the victim sees, where they go, or what they do.
  • Monitoring and stalking the victim in person, online, and/or by GPS tracking systems or cameras.
  • Prevent the victim from making decisions on their own.
  • Making the victim use drugs or alcohol.
  • Interfere with the victim working or attending school.
  • Harassing the victim at their place of employment or school.
  • Making the victim stay up all night so that they miss work or school and/or perform poorly.
  • Always accusing the victim of cheating.
  • Showing jealousy of the victim’s loved ones.
  • Telling the victim that nothing they ever do is right.
  • Discouraging the victim from spending time with loved ones.
  • Putting the victim down.
  • Telling the victim how they can or cannot dress.
  • Withholding or destroying the victim’s property.
  • Using children as a tool. Telling the victim that they are a bad parent.
  • Threatening to take children, cause them harm or kill them.
  • Controlling all of the money in the household.
  • Taking the victim’s money.
  • Refusing to give the victim money for expenses.
  • Filing false criminal charges against the victim.
  • Lying in court.

Abusers come from all backgrounds. It could be your friend, neighbor, a schoolteacher, your coworker, a police officer, and even your pastor at church. Domestic violence doesn't discriminate, and abusers don't abuse everyone.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of domestic violence, help is available 24/7. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline now at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now.

Face of a Survivor Empowerment Buddies in Arizona for victims of domestic violence

Face of a Survivor brings you Empowerment Buddies events and meet and greets to spread awareness, support and resources on Anti-Bullying and Anti-Abuse! Empowerment Buddies events are Fun, Therapeutic and Educational events that are free for schools, hospitals, shelters, charities and community events!

FOAS is scheduling Empowerment Buddies events for shelters, programs and non-profit organizations in Arizona. If you would like to donate or become an annual sponsor, please check out or email Face Of A Survivor CEO Tessa Milne at

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Jenifer Knighton is a Community Activist, Journalist, Counselor, and DWI-Education and Intervention Instructor focused on social justice and change. Her mission is to build stronger communities through Hope, Empowerment, Advocacy and Outreach, Resources, and Support.

Houston, TX

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