What is Domestic Violence?

According to the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence:

“People often think of domestic violence only in terms of the black eyes and bruises that can be seen.

In reality, domestic violence is a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors that abusive men use to control their intimate partners. As adaptive and resilient as they are, women who have been battered nevertheless face a daunting number of barriers to escaping the violence. In addition to the very real threat of harm or death to themselves or their children, victims must contend with the accompanying financial and emotional hardship. They also often weigh cultural and religious values that emphasize keeping families intact and respond to the violence in spite of justice and social service systems that don’t always provide adequate safety and support.

Women who have been battered sometimes express confusion about the recurring nature of the violence they experience in their relationship. It seems to them to be unpredictable and impulsive. Domestic violence, however, is neither random nor haphazard. It is a complex pattern of increasingly frequent and harmful physical, sexual, psychological and other abusive behaviors used to control the victim.”

To learn more about the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, click here.


Do you think you may need help leaving an abusive relationship? You can find information here on how to seek help locally and nationally.

Before visiting any of the sites below, please be aware that your abuser could be monitoring what you view on the internet. The library, as well as any computer at Hickey/Culinary and Vet Tech, is a safe place to view these sites. If you are viewing these sites from home, there are “escape” buttons on each page that allow you to quickly exit the site.

Safe Connections
Safe Connections is a local organization that works to “prevent and end domestic and sexual violence while helping survivors reclaim their lives.” Contact their crisis helpline 24/7 at 314-531-2003 for help and support in leaving a violent relationship.

ALIVE is a St. Louis organization that provides “counseling, emergency sanctuary, and other critical services to adults and children impacted by domestic abuse, as well as to increase awareness in orer to create a supportive community.”  Contact their crisis helpline 24/7 at:

  • St. Louis: 314-993-2777
  • Franklin County: 636-583-5700 or 800-941-9144

The Women’s Safe House
The Women’s Safe House’s mission it “to provide safe shelter and support services to battered women and their dependent children and to empower women to make informed choice about their futures.” Their 24/7 crisis hotline is 314-772-4535.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
“The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is the voice of victims and survivors.  We are the catalyst for changing society to have zero tolerance for domestic violence.  We do this by effecting public policy, increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and providing programs and education that drive that change.” For anonymous and confidential help, you can call the National Domestic Violence hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224.

If you want to leave a violent relationship, but are afraid more violence will occur when breaking up with the abuser, you can call the police and have them be present when you leave. The police will also help you find a safe place to stay.

If you or your child is in immediate danger, call 911.

If you are in a situation where calling is not an option, text a family member or friend and have them call 911 for you. 

Library Resources

Print Books
Both libraries have multiple books on the subject of domestic violence. These books can be found around call number HV 6626. The librarians understand that you may want privacy when looking for these books or checking them out. Please feel free to take these books home without checking them out. However, we ask that you please bring them back when you are finished using them.

Dugan, Meg Kennedy. It’s my life now : starting over after an abusive relationship or domestic violence. Routledge, 2006. Print.

  • Call number: HV6626 .D84 2006
  • Location: Culinary, Vet

Fischer, Lindsay. The House on Sunset. Lindsay Fischer, 2015. Print.

  • Call number: HV6626 .F55 2015
  • Location: Culinary, Vet

Gosselin, Denise Kindschi. Heavy Hands. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2003. Print.

  • Call number: HV6626 .G67 2003
  • Location: Culinary
  • Note: This book focuses on “family violence,” but has large sections on domestic violence within a family.

Miller, Michelle. Stay, Leave, or Die: A Guide for Recognizing Domestic Violence and Steps to Break Free from Verbal, Physical, or Emotional Abuse. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015. Print.

  • Call number: HV6561 .M45 2015
  • Location: Culinary, Vet

Van der Zande, Irene. Relationship Safety Skills Domestic, dating, and interpersonal violence prevention handbook. Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International, 2011. Print.

  • Call number: HV6626 .V8 2011
  • Location: Culinary

You can also access multiple eBooks on domestic violence. Click here to view a search of the eBooks we offer on the subject.

Films on Demand has many powerful and moving videos on domestic violence. See the list below for some of the ones available.

TEDTalks: Leslie Morgan Steiner—Why domestic violence victims don’t leave (15:53)—2013
Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.

TEDTalks: Jackson Katz—Violence against women: it’s a men’s issue (17:38)—2013
Domestic violence and sexual abuse are often called “women’s issues.” But in this bold, blunt talk, Jackson Katz points out that these are intrinsically men’s issues — and shows how these violent behaviors are tied to definitions of manhood. A clarion call for us all — women and men — to call out unacceptable behavior and be leaders of change.

Violence Not Always Physical (04:04)—2011
Domestic violence can involve many forms of control. Women talk about verbal abuse, demands for control, and threatening looks.

Why Women Stay (01:51)—2011
Women talk about wanting to change their abusers, or thinking the abuse is their fault. Extrication from a relationship is a difficult task.

Domestic Abuse (01:59)—2011
Women talk about experiences of domestic abuse. At a church, a speaker demonstrates that everyone knows someone who has experienced abuse.

Domestic Violence (02:20)—2013
Violence against women was joked about on TV. A woman’s body belonged to her husband. Tracey Thurman told her story publicly after police misconduct. 

Domestic Violence and Cycle of Violence (05:14)—1998
Domestic violence includes emotional, verbal, sexual, and physical abuses. Domestic violence is the single greatest cause of injury to women. The “cycle of violence” theory helps explain how a loving environment can dissolve into a violent one.