By Rachel Rubenstein, LCSW

The National Domestic Abuse Hotline defines Domestic Violence (DV) as “…dating abuse, or relationship abuse…a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.” This kind of abuse can happen between parents, minors, male, female, nonbinary, transgender and LGBTQ people. Anyone in a relationship with another person can experience DV.

DV type of behavior can happen at home, school, a friends house or anywhere you spend time with others. Most of us think of DV as physical violence like hitting, slapping or pushing but DV can also be sexual violence – a person making you do things sexually that you don’t want to do, molestation or pornography (remember, “no” means no!), emotional violence– verbally or mentally abusing someone by telling lies, intimidating, ridiculing, harassing (both in person and/or digitally), yelling, cursing, manipulating or putting you down and neglect-ignoring physical or educational needs (this occurs mostly between parents and children).

DV can be harmful to you physically as well as emotionally creating anxiety and depression and increasing emotional distress, eating and sleeping problems. Experiencing DV can make you more likely to use and/or abuse drugs and have a range of mental health conditions.

What to do if you experience DV? Curious to know more about DV? Reach out to a trusted adult or call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). For more information on DV prevention and resources visit or the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence in addition to your Teen Strong resources. You’ve got this.

This is information only – NOT medical advice