- The Warning Signs of Abuse
- The Different Forms of Abuse
- What Victims of Abuse Should Know
- What We Know About Abusers
The Warning Signs of Abuse
There may be warning signs or early indicators that your partner is abusive. Some of these warning signs are below if your partner:
- is extremely jealous;
- wants to know where you are at all times;
- gets upset if you spend time with friends or family;
- holds rigid expectations of male/female or adult/child role;
- expects you to meet their emotional needs;
- blames others and you for his problems; or
- threatens you with violence.
There may be many other warning signs. You can phone the nearest Woman’s Shelter for further information.
The Different Forms of Abuse
Partner abuse happens when your romantic partner mistreats you. It takes many forms and has many names: spousal abuse, wife abuse, relationship violence, gender-based violence. No matter what you call it, abuse is wrong.
- Physical abuse is any aggressive behaviour directed at another’s body, such as pushing, pinching, squeezing, shaking, grabbing, biting, slapping, punching, kicking, or choking. It also includes throwing objects or using a weapon. Obviously, such conduct will often result in serious injuries, but many women are subjected to varying degrees of physical abuse without suffering physical injury visible to the eye.
- Sexual abuse is forced participation in any type of sexual activity. No one, not even a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner, has the right to force someone to participate in sexual activity if the person doesn’t want to. If force or threats of force are used to gain compliance, the person who forced the other person into sexual activity can be charged with sexual assault.
- Digital or online abuse is using technology to harass and intimidate a partner. It can include constantly texting and getting angry if texts are not responded to right away, stealing or demanding passwords to email and social media accounts and monitoring activity, posting mean or threatening statuses about the partner on social media, and demanding explicit pictures the other person does not feel comfortable sending.
- Psychological and verbal abuse involve the infliction of emotional pain and suffering by doing things to control or degrade, such as persistent verbal attacks on self-esteem, repeated accusations of infidelity, threats of suicide, control over friends and money, and threats of harm to others.
- Forced confinement is when someone does not allow another person out of, for example, a house, room, bed, or chair for extended periods of time.
- Abuse towards pets or property is the destruction of property or animals with the explicit or implicit threat that “she is next.”
- Financial Abuse is when an abuser makes the other person completely financial dependent on them and maintains control over the finances. Often it can mean the person being abused has no access to the family’s money. It can mean she is allowed no money for personal use, that her spending is controlled and tracked, or that she must obtain permission before purchasing anything. They may live in a comfortable house, wear good clothing, have children who are well-equipped with toys and luxuries, but have no control over what is spent or saved, over what moneys come into the family, or over any decisions about what will be bought.
- Spiritual (or religious) violence occurs when someone uses an individual’s spiritual beliefs to manipulate, dominate or control that person.
- Cultural Violence occurs when an individual is harmed as a result of practices that are part of her or his culture, religion or tradition.
What Victims of Abuse Should Know
There is help. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help.
- You are NOT to blame. Your partner may be angry or under stress, but these are not excuses for violence. It is not your fault.
- You are NOT the only one. Canadian born, immigrant, lgbtq women share this problem. It happens to many women of all ages, religions, cultural backgrounds, and incomes.
- You partner has NO right to hurt you. Although people may tell you that it is your duty to obey your husband or partner, all forms of abuse are wrong.
- It usually will NOT get better. Partners who are violent usually do not change. The abuse may get worse over time.
What We Know About Abusers
Abusers can come in many forms from many different backgrounds. They can be men or they can be women. There are some characteristics that abusers have in common.
- They try to isolate victims from family and friends.
- They minimize and deny their behaviour.
- They wield power and control over others.
- They blame victims.
- They distrust others.
- They often have been victims or witnessed abuse.
- They usually have low self-esteem.
- They are not in touch with their own feelings.