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Types of Abuse

Anyone can be a victim of interpersonal violence — any age, race, ethnic group, economic level, ability, gender, or sexual orientation.

Domestic or dating abuse is the intentional use of a pattern of destructive behaviors by one person to exert power and control over their dating partner or spouse.

​Assaulting, threatening or stalking an intimate partner is a crime in the state of Connecticut.

Domestic violence does not discriminate. It happens in every neighborhood, community, race, ethnicity, income bracket, age, and sexual orientation.

Physical Abuse:

  • Hitting, kicking, punching, shoving
  • Holding or restraining
  • Strangling or choking
  • Inflicting bruises
  • Welts and lacerations
  • Dragging or pulling by hair
  • Throwing things
  • Marking or branding
  • Threats of violence

Sexual Abuse:

  • Coercing/forcing victim to engage in sexual activity
  • Unwanted exposure to sexually explicit material
  • Sexual exploitation/trafficking
  • Stealthing
  • Reproductive coercion
    •  When one partner strips the other of the ability to control their own reproductive system
    • Sabotaging birth control (pills, condoms, etc.)
    • Pregnancy pressure
    • Refusal to participate in preferred birth control method (or to not use at all)

Emotional Abuse:

  • Threats, intimidation
  • Humiliation
  • Extreme jealousy/possessiveness
  • Ignoring or dismissing the victim
  • Denying, minimizing, and blaming
  • Gaslighting
  • Insulting/belittling

Cultural Abuse:

  • Mocking their identity
  • Refusing to acknowledge cultural identities
  • Refusing to use correct pronouns
  • Denying part(s) of their identity
  • Gatekeeping
  • Racial gaslighting

Digital Abuse:

  • Tracking location
  • Demanding check-ins
  • Excessive texts
  • Spyware
  • Spoofing, catfishing
  • Monitoring communications
  • Demanding passwords
  • Controlling social media posts/friends

Financial Abuse:

  • Using money as a tool to establish control in a relationship
  • Monitoring/controlling spending
  • Pressured spending
  • Withholding money
  • No access to bank accounts/ATM/credit cards
  • Ruining victim’s credit
  • Stealing/taking victim’s paychecks
  • Gambling

The above types of Domestic Violence can occur at any age.

  • Teen Dating Violence can include any of the abusive behaviors listed above in the context of a teen relationship.
    • Teen dating violence — also called intimate relationship violence or intimate partner violence among adolescents or adolescent relationship abuse — includes physical, psychological or sexual abuse; harassment; or stalking of any person ages 12 to 18 in the context of a past or present romantic or consensual relationship.
  • Elder Abuse, or abuse in later life, is the abuse, neglect, abandonment, or financial exploitation of an older individual by another person or entity who has a trust-based relationship with the older adult; or, any harm that occurs because an older person is targeted by a stranger based on their age or disability.
    • The abuse is usually committed by someone actively involved in the person’s life: an intimate partner, family member, caregiver or caretaker, or friend, among others.

The following checklist may help you decide if you or someone you know is being abused.

Does your partner:

  • Constantly criticize you and your abilities as a spouse or partner, parent, or employee?
  • Behave in an over-protective manner or become extremely jealous?
  • Threaten to hurt you, your children, pets, family members, friends, or themselves?
  • Prevent you from seeing family and/or friends?
  • Get suddenly angry or “lose their temper”?
  • Destroy personal property or throw things around?
  • Deny you access to family assets like bank accounts, credit cards, or the car, or control all finances and force you to account for what you spend?
  • Use intimidation or manipulation to control you or your children?
  • Hit, punch, slap, kick, shove, choke, or bite you?
  • Prevent you from going where you want to, when you want to, and with whomever you want to?
  • Make you have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually that you don’t want to do?
  • Apologize and promise not to do it again?
  • Make excuses for actions (I drank too much, had a tough day at work, etc.)?
  • Humiliate or embarrass you in front of other people?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be a victim of domestic violence. You are not to blame, and you are not alone. Help is available by calling our Hotline at 203.731.5206.

Sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact. This includes words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will and without their consent. A person may use force, threats, manipulation, or coercion to commit sexual violence.

In the State of Connecticut, the attempt of penetration is against the law.

A specific form of sexual abuse defined by the FBI as “penetration, no matter how slight, of a vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Sexual assaults are most often committed by someone close to the victim
The stranger in the dark alleyway at night re-enforces the “stranger danger” concept most have been taught since they were kids, but typically the perpetrator is someone who is a friend, roommate, dating partner, family member, or someone else close to the victim.

Date rape
• Can include acquaintance rape
• Drug-facilitated rape

Marital Rape
• Sexual assault committed by the victim’s spouse

• Removal of condom before sex without the knowledge of the other person

There are three main considerations in judging whether or not a sexual act is consensual (which means that both people are old enough to consent, have the capacity to consent, and agreed to the sexual contact) or is a crime.

1. Are the participants old enough to consent? Each state sets an “age of consent,” which is the minimum age someone must be to have sex. People below this age are considered children and cannot legally agree to have sex. In other words, even if the child or teenager says yes, the law says no. In Connecticut, the age of consent is 16.

2. Do both people have the capacity to consent? States also define who has the mental and legal capacity to consent. There are many different circumstances when someone might be able to give consent, including but not limited to someone with an intellectual disability, someone incapacitated due to alcohol and/or other drugs, or unconscious, or asleep.

3. Did both participants agree? Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity

  • Recognized by all colleges and universities in CT; not the legal standard, but state is working toward this
  • Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity
  • The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression
  • Experiencing Domestic Violence in the Home
    • Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation and emotional abuse.
    • Neglect: Child neglect is when a parent or caregiver does not give the care, supervision, affection and support needed for a child’s health, safety and well-being.
      • Physical: abandonment, unsafe living conditions, inadequate food/malnutrition, and erratic or unsafe behavior of the caregiver which adversely impacts the child.
      • Medical: unreasonable delay, failure, or refusal of the caregiver to seek or obtain medical, dental, or mental health services necessary to the child’s continued health.
      • Educational: when a school-aged child has excessive absences from school through the intent or neglect of the caregiver.
      • Emotional: denial of proper care, or failure to respond to the child’s affective needs in a way that adversely impacts their positive emotional development. This can be inappropriate expectations; lack of support, affection and attention; and exposure to family violence.
  • Witnessing Domestic Violence in the home
    • Feeling tension building in home prior to assault
    • Hearing threats of physical harm
    • Hearing or seeing assault on their parent/guardian
    • Being denied care because parent/guardian is injured or depressed
    • Being forced to watch or participate in violence against their parent/guardian
  • Child Sexual Abuse
    • A form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. Child sexual abuse does not need to include physical contact between a perpetrator and a child.
    • Assault, molestation, pressuring, coercion
      o Grooming intentionally developing a relationship and gaining the trust of the victim for the purposes of manipulation, exploitation, and abuse
    • Can take place online convincing them to take and send intimate photos
    • Exposure to explicit, inappropriate material
    • Having sexual relations with a family member or close relative
    • A person is guilty of incest when he marries a person whom he knows to be related to him within any of the degrees of kindred {Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-A-191 (2013)}.

When someone knowingly engages in behaviors/activities directed at a specific person which would cause a “reasonable person” to fear for their physical safety or the physical safety of a third person or suffer emotional distress. Adds “[§53a-181d & §53a-181e; Effective October 1, 2017]

Clarifies the inclusion of “electronic or social media” as part of the “action, method, device or means” by which stalking can occur.

Examples of stalking:

  • Following or showing up places where they know the victim will be
  • Sending unwanted gifts or items
  • Monitoring texts or calls
  • Tracking where someone is with a GPS
  • Driving by someone’s home, where they work, where they hang out
  • Finding out information about someone by researching someone, going through their things, and/or harassing friends or family

Leaving an abusive relationship is often the most dangerous time for the victim and when stalking is most likely to occur.

Stalking should be taken seriously. It can also escalate to further violence or homicide.

Sex trafficking
The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for a commercial sex act, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.

Labor trafficking
The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Survival sex
The exchange of sex or sexual acts for drugs, food, shelter, protection, other basics of life, and/or money for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit, or advantage, or any other non-legitimate purpose.

What to do if you are a victim of violence?

  • Call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 203.731.5206
  • Call our Sexual Assault Hotline at 203.731.5206.
  • Come in to speak to a Crisis Navigator at our main office: 2 West Street, Danbury, CT 06810
    • A Crisis Navigator is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to listen and offer support, as well as to provide you with information and resources to help you best decide what to do next. All services are no cost and confidential.
    • There is no problem too big or too small, no matter much time has passed, we are here to help you cope and heal.

How to help a friend or loved one.

If you are concerned that someone you know or work with is being abused, we can help.

Contact us here: 203.731.5206.

Where we Help

CEE is available to help anyone, though we focus on the following towns and zip codes.

Success Story

Mr. Deluco
While working with Mr. DeLuco’s (name changed for privacy) 4th grade class there was a brief moment between activities where a young lady came up to our educator. 


We support our clients with a network of available agencies and community resources. 

Get Help

The Center for Empowerment and Education (CEE) provides a safe and secure environment for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Crisis Intervention

The Center for Empowerment and Education (CEE) provides two 24-hour hotlines for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and our trained advocates provide on-site emergency response at area hospitals, police departments, courts and at other community agencies.