Being Abused: What Puts You at Risk?

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Topic Overview

If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number.

Be careful online too. Your online activity may be seen by others. Do not use your personal computer or device to read about this topic. Use a safe computer such as one at work, a friend's house, or a library.

Physical abuse can happen to anyone. But certain things can increase your risk of being abused.

Things you cannot control

The abuser:

  • Uses alcohol or drugs.
  • Has a history of extreme impulsiveness or an increase in risk-taking behaviors, such as:
    • Drinking and driving.
    • High-risk sexual behavior.
  • Has a strong interest in guns and access to a gun.
  • Has a history of suicide attempts.
  • Has a history of violent behavior.
  • Has recently been in jail.
  • Was abused as a child.
  • Has a medical or mental health problem, such as depression or personality disorder.

Unsafe situations you may be able to avoid

You may find yourself in an unsafe situation if you:

  • Abuse alcohol or drugs.
  • Date many people at one time.
  • Accept any violent behavior in the dating relationship. There is no excuse for abuse.
  • Ignore feelings of discomfort or warning signs that someone is treating you badly.
  • Think your partner holds the power in a relationship.
  • Are alone in an unfamiliar environment.
  • Depend on your dating partner for transportation.
  • Feel that your dating partner is in control because he or she asked you out and paid for the date.
  • Are part of a group that has a higher risk for assault, such as:
    • The homeless.
    • Sex workers.
    • Substance abusers.
    • Teens.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

Current as ofApril 24, 2015