• It's hard to label a behavior "abusive," but it can help you stay safe.
  • Learn the signs of abuse so you can recognize it when you see it.

What is Physical Abuse?

Physical abuse is any intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body. Sometimes abusive behavior does not cause pain or even leave a bruise, but it's still unhealthy. Examples of physical abuse are:

  • Scratching, punching, biting, strangling or kicking.
  • Throwing something at you such as a phone, book, shoe or plate.
  • Pulling your hair.
  • Pushing or pulling you.
  • Grabbing your clothing.
  • Using a gun, knife, box cutter, bat, mace or other weapon.
  • Smacking your bottom.
  • Forcing you to have sex or perform a sexual act.
  • Grabbing your face to make you look at them.
  • Grabbing you to prevent you from leaving or to force you to go somewhere.

Escaping Physical Abuse

Start by learning that you are not alone. More than one in 10 high school students have already experienced some form of physical aggression from a dating partner, and many of these teens did not know what to do when it happened. If you are in a similar situation:

  • Realize this behavior is wrong.
  • Talk to an adult, friend or family member that you trust.
  • Create a safety plan.
  • Consider getting a restraining order.
  • Do not accept or make excuses for your partner’s abusive behavior.
  • Remember that physical abuse is never your fault.

Protecting Yourself from Physical Abuse

Unhealthy or abusive relationships usually get worse. It is important to know the warning signs to prevent more serious harm. If you are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, consider making a safety plan. Chat with a peer advocate for more information.