Domestic Violence and Abuse

Upset woman on the phone

Recognizing the Signs of an Abusive Relationship and Getting Help

What is domestic violence and abuse?

When people think of domestic abuse, they often focus on domestic violence. But domestic abuse includes any attempt by one person in an intimate relationship or marriage to dominate and control the other. Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn't “play fair.” An abuser uses fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under their thumb.

Domestic violence and abuse do not discriminate. Abuse happens within heterosexual relationships and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more often victimized, men also experience abuse—especially verbal and emotional. The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether from a man, woman, teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.

To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you're in an abusive relationship.

Do you:

  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can't do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you're the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?

Does your partner:

  • humiliate or yell at you?
  • criticize you and put you down?
  • treat you so badly that you're embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
  • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • blame you for their own abusive behavior?
  • see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

Does your partner:

  • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • threaten to take your children away or harm them?
  • threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • force you to have sex?
  • destroy your belongings?

Does your partner:

  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • control where you go or what you do?
  • keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
  • constantly check up on you?

Where to turn for help

  • Law Enforcement
    • 911 Emergency
    • Kern County Sheriff (661) 861-3110
    • Ridgecrest PD (760) 499-5000
    • Tehachapi PD (661) 822-2222
    • Inyo County Sheriff (760) 878-0383
    • Mammoth Lakes PD (760) 965-3700
    • Mono County Sheriff (760) 932-7549
  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233(SAFE).
  • Family/Friends
  • Spiritual Leader
  • School counselor
  • School Safety Manager
  • Women's Center High Desert (760) 371-1969 (IWV, KRV, & EKC)
  • Wild Iris Family Counseling & Crisis Center (760) 934-2491


Getting Out of an Abusive Relationship
Help for Men Who Are Being Abused

FAQ: How can I get help for a domestic violence issue?
Domestic Violence - What You Need To Know