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Your partner apologizes and says the hurtful behavior won't happen again — but you fear it will.

At times you wonder whether you're imagining the abuse, yet the emotional or physical pain you feel is real.

If this sounds familiar, you might be experiencing domestic violence.

Domestic violence can take many forms, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse and threats of abuse.

Men are sometimes abused by partners, but domestic violence is most often directed toward women.

Domestic violence can happen in heterosexual or same-sex relationships.

Abusive relationships always involve an imbalance of power and control.

An abuser uses intimidating, hurtful words and behaviors to control his or her partner.

Dating vilonce

It might not be easy to identify domestic violence at first.While some relationships are clearly abusive from the outset, abuse often starts subtly and gets worse over time.You might be experiencing domestic violence if you're in a relationship with someone who: Sometimes domestic violence begins — or increases — during pregnancy, putting your health and the baby's health at risk. Even if your child isn't abused, simply witnessing domestic violence can be harmful.Children who grow up in abusive homes are more likely to be abused and have behavioral problems than are other children.As adults, they're more likely to become abusers or think abuse is a normal part of relationships.You might worry that telling the truth will further endanger you, your child or other family members — and that it might break up your family — but seeking help is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.The longer you stay in an abusive relationship, the greater the physical and emotional toll.You might become depressed and anxious, or begin to doubt your ability to take care of yourself. If you're having trouble identifying what's happening, take a step back and look at larger patterns in your relationship. In an abusive relationship, the person who routinely uses these behaviors is the abuser. The ultimate goal of prevention and intervention is to stop dating violence before it begins.During the preteen and teen years, young people are learning the skills they need to form positive, healthy relationships with others.This is an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patterns of relationship violence that can last into adulthood.[1]Studies investigating the effectiveness of programs to prevent dating violence are beginning to show positive results.

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