Internet Safety

The Language We Use

Words are powerful, so the language we use throughout this site was chosen with intention.

Domestic or intimate partner violence?

In the domestic violence service field, there are many different ways to describe relationship violence. Throughout this site you will see an interchanging of “domestic violence” and “intimate partner violence.”

What’s the difference and why do we use both phrases?

Domestic violence refers to violence among people in a domestic situation, and can thus include not only a spouse or partner (same sex or opposite sex), but also siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

Intimate partner violence is more specific in describing violence perpetrated by a partner in a romantic or dating relationship. This sort of abuse is Women Against Abuse’s primary focus; however, the descriptor “intimate partner violence” is a more recent term. Many people still consider “domestic violence” as referring in fact to intimate/dating partners. It’s a nuanced issue, and until the general public begins using a more inclusive term, we have decided to use both phrases interchangeably when we discuss relationship violence.

Furthermore, we recognize that abuse occurs within a spectrum of relationships, and it is our intention to ensure that anyone that is in an abusive relationship will be able to access interventions. Some of these relationships include: sex trafficking; relationships described as "hooking up,"  "dating;" "friends with benefits," or other terminology; abuse within an institutional setting; and other abusive relationships where there is a pattern of coercive (use of force or threats) behaviors or tactics utilized against the victim with a purpose of gaining and keeping power or control over them.

Victim or Survivor?

Another thing you might have noticed is that we often interchange the words "victim" and "survivor." While our philosophy of empowerment propels us to prefer the word "survivor," we recognize that people currently experiencing relationship violence are, in fact, being victimized. They sometimes need help, and the seriousness of their situation may be more evident through the use of the word "victim."

We have seen countless victims overcome the trauma of domestic violence to rebuild their lives and embrace futures of hope and safety as survivors. That, after all, is what we’re all about!

 

Gendered Pronouns

We try to avoid gendered pronouns whenever possible, because intimate partner violence impacts the entire spectrum of heterosexual and LGBTQIA relationships. Also, while the statistics show that domestic violence predominantly impacts individuals who identify as women, men also experience abuse as victims.

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Renee’s Story

Renee’s Story

Renee Norris Jones experienced 7 years of domestic violence at a time when few resources existed to help victims escape abuse.

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Beth Huffman’s Story

Beth Huffman’s Story

When a survivor's child was in trouble, Beth Huffman helped organize a press conference to get the story out on behalf of Women Against Abuse's Legal Center.

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Catherine’s Story

Catherine’s Story

When I first met my abuser, I was just 14 years old and he was 20. I thought I was in love, so I ignored the disapproval of my mom and sister.

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Doug Schoenberg’s Story

Doug Schoenberg’s Story

Doug Schoenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of SofterWare, Inc., recently provided a challenge match through the Schoenberg Family Charitable Fund as an incentive to help Women Against Abuse gain new monthly donors.

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Lonnie & Jordan’s Story

Lonnie & Jordan’s Story

The life-saving work that Women Against Abuse achieves each day would not be possible without the support of advocates in the community.

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Verizon’s Story

Verizon’s Story

A valued corporate partner, Verizon has been committed to empowering survivors of domestic violence in Philadelphia through HopeLine by Verizon.

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Justine’s Story

Justine’s Story

Justine got to know Eric in college, while working part time at a Virginia-based home improvement store. They began casually dating in 1999, eventually marrying in May of 2006. Looking back, her sister, Lauren, can see the red flags.

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Sarah’s Story

Sarah’s Story

Sarah joined Women Against Abuse in September 2010 through a partnership program with the German peace and volunteer organization ARSP.

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Amy’s Story

Amy’s Story

“This is not OK; this is not who I will be; I will love my children; violence will not be allowed in my home.”

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William’s Story

William’s Story

William Spratley flicks through the text messages on his phone until he finds the one he’s been looking for. It’s from his 27-year old daughter, Ameya, and it’s the last words he will ever exchange with her.

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If you or someone you know needs help, call our toll-free 24-hour Hotline:

1.866.723.3014

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