In Wisconsin and across the world, marginalized communities (including People of Color, immigrants, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people) experience disproportionately higher rates of violence, including domestic violence.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, but survivors and victims of marginalized backgrounds and identities can have these used against them as tactics of control by their abusers. They also often face additional barriers to seeking help. Learn more from organizations such as API-GBVEsperanza UnitedNIWRCUjima, and StrongHearts.

Domestic violence programs offer lifesaving services in our communities every single day—like housing, shelter, basic necessities, and wraparound support to help survivors and their children escape abuse and create safer lives. Learn more about local programs in Wisconsin using our Get Help map.

A short video featuring various adults looking tense, fearful, or angry. White text in purple boxes throughout the video reads: “Domestic violence is more than physical violence. It can include threats, harassment, putting someone down, pressuring around sex, controlling finances, and any other tactics to gain power & control.” Video ends with the dark gray, pink, and dark purple Every1KnowsSomeone logo.

Un breve video presentando a varios adultos que se ven tensos, atemorizados o enojados. A lo largo del video, un texto blanco en recuadros púrpuras lee: “La violencia doméstica es más que violencia física. Puede incluir amenazas, acoso, humillar a alguien, presionar en cuanto al sexo, controlar las finanzas y cualquier otra táctica para ganar poner y control.” El video termina con el logo Cada1Conoce1 en los colores gris oscuro, rosado y púrpura oscuro.

Definitions: Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, & Gender-Based Violence

Against a purple background, black text in a light gray box reads: "do-mes-tic vi-o-lence [duh-mes-tik vahy-uh-luhns] n. 1 a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person to gain power and control over another in an intimate or familial relationship" with "power and control" highlighted in light purple. White Every1KnowsSome1 logo centered below the box.Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, financial, and other abuse. Domestic violence is more than physical violence. It can include threats, harassment, putting someone down, pressuring someone around sex, controlling finances, and other tactics to gain power and control.

What’s the difference between domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and gender-based violence?

“Domestic violence” and “intimate partner violence” can be used interchangeably to describe a pattern of abusive behavior and coercive control that can happen in a dating, marital, or live-in (or ex-) intimate partner relationship.

“Intimate partner violence” often feels more inclusive because it more explicitly recognizes that people in any type of romantic relationship can experience abuse by a partner–regardless of age, gender identity, sexuality, or “formal” relationship status.

Sobre un fondo púrpura, un texto negro en un recuadro gris claro lee: "violencia doméstica (Del lat. violentĭa, de domestĭcus, de domus, casa) 1. f. un patrón de comportamiento coercitivo usado por una persona para ganar poder y control sobre la otra en una relación íntima o familiar" con la frase "poder y control" resaltada con púrpura claro. En la parte inferior central del recuadro aparece el logo Cada1Conoce1 en color blanco.“Domestic violence” may tend to feel less inclusive, because sometimes people assume the term only refers to married couples or heterosexual relationships (even though this isn’t true).

“Gender-based violence” is an umbrella category for violence directed at an individual based on their biological sex or gender identity. It includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, threats, coercion, and economic or educational deprivation, whether occurring in public or private life. Domestic violence (or “intimate partner violence”) is one form of gender-based violence. Sexual assault is another form of gender-based violence.

Statistics: Key Global, National, and State Data

Domestic violence is more pervasive than most people realize. It impacts 1 in 3 women, 1 in 4 men, and over half of LGBTQ+ people. These high rates of domestic violence are not just individual problems; they require community solutions. If we come together to build a healthy community, where everyone has an affordable place to live and a job with a living wage, then people will be less likely to experience domestic violence in the first place.

An important note about statistics:

The limited research on domestic violence often implies that gender is binary. As we cite available studies which hold important data on this issue, this language does not reflect our expansive understanding of gender or who is impacted.

National & Global Statistics

According to the World Health Organization, domestic violence is “devastatingly pervasive” and is by far the most prevalent form of violence against women globally.

  • According to the CDC, about 1 in 3 women and about 1 in 4 men in the United States report having experienced severe physical violence from a partner in their lifetime. This issue impacts people of every gender.
  • According to the CDC, in the United States, on average, 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. This equates to more than 10 million people abused in one year.
  • According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 61.1% of bisexual women, 43.8% of lesbian women, 37.3% of bisexual men, and 26% of gay men have reported experiencing rape, physical violence, and/or stalking from a partner during their lifetime—compared to 35% of heterosexual women and 29% of heterosexual men. The U.S. Transgender Survey found that 54% of respondents have experienced some form of violence from a partner, and 24% have experienced severe violence.
  • 1 in 3 Black women and 1 in 4 Black men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. (NRCDV). Around 31% of all women will experience domestic violence. For Black women, that statistic is more than 40%, and their journey to safety is often made harder by racism and other structural barriers (IWPR) Learn more from Black-led orgs like Ujima.
  • According to Esperanza United, about 1 in 3 Latinas (34.4%) will experience intimate partner violence in her lifetime, and 1 in 12 Latinas have experienced IPV in the past 12 months. Barriers like racism and xenophobia can complicate Latina survivors’ paths to safety. Learn more from Latina-led orgs like Esperanza United.
  • Every year, approximately four million older adults in the United States are victims of physical, psychological and/or other forms of abuse and neglect, including emotional abuse and financial exploitation. Learn more about abuse in later life from NCALL.
  • 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female.
  • According to the CDC, 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence annually and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
Wisconsin Statistics

In WI and across the globe, marginalized communities – including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, immigrants, and LGBTQ people – experience disproportionately higher rates of violence. Our focus must remain on the experience of those most impacted, centering an anti-racist, anti-white supremacist framework in all we do.

For the latest domestic violence homicide data, visit our Homicide Reports & Response page.

  • According to a March 2023 NNEDV report, on a single day in 2022, surveyed domestic violence frontline service providers served 1,938 Victims Served victims and survivors, received 825 hotline contacts, and had 319 unmet requests for services – mostly for housing and emergency shelter – due to lack of resources.
  • Reported Wisconsin rates of domestic violence consistently align with national statistics, with about 32% of reports being against women and 23% against men in 2022 (World Population Review).
  • In a D&R 2020 Trans Needs Assessment, 80% of all respondents have experienced some form of intimate partner violence.

Statistics for Wisconsin Youth from the Dare2Know Campaign

    • 1 in 5 teens experience dating violence in WI.
    • 1 in 4 teens in a relationship say they have been called names, harassed or put down by their partner through mobile devices.
    • 2 in 3 teens who were in an abusive relationship never told anyone about the abuse.


Common Reasons People Stay in Abusive Relationships

There are numerous reasons why victims maintain contact with abusers or feel they cannot leave an abusive relationship. Victims of abuse often love or care about the people who harm them. Keeping the family together may be very important to the victim for many reasons, including for the sake of children or religious and cultural beliefs. Some victims fear that they will be seriously hurt or killed if they leave their abusers. Others do not have the financial resources and/or housing they need to leave. Medical conditions and disabilities may make living on their own difficult or impossible or the abusive individual may need the victims care.

Against a dark purple background, light purple and white text reads: “When you’re in an abusive relationship, ‘just leaving’ is easier said than done…” White Every1KnowsSome1 logo in the top right.Common reasons why people stay in abusive relationships include:

Fear & Intimidation. There is a real fear of death or more abuse if they leave. In fact, a victim’s risk of getting killed greatly increases when they are in the process of leaving or have just left. A person may fear the consequences of leaving, and abusers can use intimidation and threats to keep victims in the relationship. They may also use children and pets to intimidate the victim into staying.

Feelings. Oftentimes these relationships have a foundation of something that isn’t abusive. Survivors often still have strong, intimate feelings for their abusive partner. These feelings can be confusing and make it difficult to leave. Survivors often report that they want the abuse to end, not the relationship. A survivor may stay with or return to an abusive partner because they believe the abuser’s promises to change.

Lack of Resources. 99% of abusers use economic abuse to control their victims. By controlling their victim’s finances, they make their victims financially dependent on them. Abusers may ruin their credit, control all of the finances, and use other tactics that make it feel impossible for the victim to find a new place to live. Homelessness is a huge risk factor for survivors of domestic violence.

Impact of Emotional Abuse. Abusers use tactics like gaslighting to confuse and shift blame onto the victim, causing them to doubt their sanity and feel like they are responsible for the abuse and therefore able to stop it. Abuse and trauma can also erode a survivor’s confidence in their ability to be independent and make their own decisions.

Against a dark purple background, light purple and white text reads: “Whatever their reasons for staying or leaving, survivors deserve respect and support in their decisions.” White Every1KnowsSome1 logo centered below text.

Long-term Health Effects. Abuse takes an emotional and physical toll over time, which can translate to additional health issues that make leaving more difficult.

Intersectional Considerations. A victim’s marginalized background or identity may be used by their abuser to increase their fear of leaving. For example, an abuser may exploit their victim’s immigration status, language barrier, disability, or fear of being outed.

Community. Traditional gender roles supported by someone’s culture or religion may influence them to stay rather than end the relationship for fear of bringing shame upon their family. Leaving the relationship can feel like leaving their whole community and everything that comes with it. 

Sobre un fondo púrpura oscuro, un texto púrpura claro y blanco lee: “Cuando estás en una relación de maltrato, “simplemente irse” es más fácil de decir que de hacer …” En la parte superior derecha aparece el logo Cada1Conoce1 en color blanco.

Las razones comunes por las cuales las personas se quedan en relaciones de maltrato incluyen:

El Miedo y la Intimidación. Hay un miedo real de morir o sufrir más maltrato si se van. De hecho, el riesgo de que una víctima sea asesinada aumenta grandemente cuando está en proceso de irse o acaba de irse. Una persona puede tener miedo de las consecuencias de irse, y los agresores pueden usar la intimidación y las amenazas para mantener a las víctimas en la relación. También es posible que usen a los hijos y mascotas para intimidar a la víctima para que se quede.

Los Sentimientos. A menudo estas relaciones tienen una base de algo que no es maltrato. Frecuentemente, los sobrevivientes aún tienen sentimientos intensos e íntimos por su pareja abusiva. Estos sentimientos pueden ser confusos y dificultar el poder irse. Los sobrevivientes a menudo reportan que quieren que acabe el maltrato, no la relación. Un sobreviviente puede quedarse o regresar con una pareja que le maltrata porque cree en las promesas de cambio que hace el agresor.

La Falta de Recursos. El 99% de los agresores usan el abuso económico para controlar a sus víctimas. Controlando las finanzas de sus víctimas, hacen que sus víctimas dependan financieramente de ellos. Los agresores pueden arruinar su crédito, controlar todas las finanzas y usar otras tácticas que hagan que su víctima sienta que es imposible encontrar otro lugar para vivir. La falta de vivienda es un enorme factor de riesgo para los sobrevivientes de violencia doméstica.

El Impacto del Maltrato Emocional. Los agresores usan tácticas como el “gaslighting” para confundir y echarle la culpa a la víctima, causando que esta dude de su cordura y sienta que es responsable del maltrato y por lo tanto capaz de detenerlo. El maltrato y los traumas también pueden deteriorar la confianza que tiene un sobreviviente en su habilidad para ser independiente y tomar sus propias decisiones.

Sobre un fondo púrpura oscuro, un texto púrpura claro y blanco lee: “No importa cuáles sean sus razones para quedarse o irse, los sobrevivientes merecen respeto y apoyo en sus decisiones.” El logo Cada1Conoce1 en color blanco aparece en el centro debajo del texto.Los Efectos a Largo Plazo en la Salud. El maltrato causa daños físicos y emocionales con el pasar del tiempo, lo cual puede convertirse en más problemas de salud que hagan más difícil el poder irse.

Las Consideraciones Intersectoriales. El pasado o la identidad marginada de una víctima puede ser usado por su agresor para aumentar su miedo de irse. Por ejemplo, un agresor puede explotar el estatus migratorio, barrera de lenguaje, discapacidad o miedo a ser descubierto de su víctima.

 La Comunidad. Los roles tradicionales de género apoyados por la cultura o religión de una persona pueden influenciarle a quedarse y no terminar la relación por miedo a avergonzar a su familia. Dejar la relación puede sentirse como que está dejando a su comunidad entera y todo lo que eso conlleva.


Know the Signs

Against a white background are drawings of four different people holding signs in front of their faces. The signs read: "They prevent you from spending time with family or friends," "They blame you for their abusive behavior & make you feel guilty," "They put you down, call you names, or say & do things that erode your self-esteem," and "They text or call all the time & get angry if you don't answer." Above the people, purple and black text reads: "Know the signs. Abuse often begins long before it becomes physical." Dark gray, pink, and dark purple Every1KnowsSome1 logo in the top right.Sobre un fondo blanco están los dibujos de cuatro personas distintas sosteniendo carteles frente a sus caras. Los carteles leen: "Te impide pasar tiempo con familiares y amigos”, "Te culpa por su comportamiento abusivo y te hace sentir culpable”, "Te humilla, te insulta o dice y hace cosas que bajan tu autoestima” y " Te envía mensajes de texto o te llama todo el tiempo y se molesta si no le contestas". Arriba de las personas, un texto púrpura y negro lee: " Conozca las señales. A menudo el maltrato comienza mucho antes de volverse físico." En la parte superior derecha aparece el logo Cada1Conoce1 en los colores gris oscuro, rosado y púrpura oscuro.










Domestic abuse is a pattern of coercive and controlling behavior used in an ongoing, familiar relationship.

An abuser may control or harm the entire household. Anyone can become a victim of domestic abuse. Abuse occurs in all cultural, economic, and religious groups, among all gender identities, sexual orientations, and across the lifespan. Abusers can be spouses, partners, adult children or other family members or caregivers.

Abuse can take many forms.  Some are more common depending on your age, your culture or traditions, and the kind of relationship you have with the abuser.  Sometimes it is hard to figure out if what someone says or does is abuse. Here are some links to signs that someone is harming you:

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