Types of Abuse

Power and Control

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors that one person uses over another to gain POWER and CONTROL. 

Domestic violence knows no boundaries with regards to gender, race, age, orientation, or socio-economic status – it does not discriminate.
Physical abuse is the most commonly recognized form of domestic violence because the injuries are visible. It is important to understand that physical abuse does not always have to be part of an unhealthy relationship. 

  • Physical abuse may include: hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, strangling, smothering, using or threatening to use weapons, throwing things, destroying property, harming pets, denying medical treatment.

Emotional abuse is part of every unhealthy relationship on some level. Emotional abuse causes the victim feel responsible for the abusive behaviors. Over time, emotional abuse can have seriously negative effects on the victim’s sense of worth. 

  • Emotional abuse may include: constant criticism and put downs, “gaslighting”, blaming the victim for the abuser’s actions, isolating the victim, extreme jealousy, accusing the victim of having affairs, demanding the victim “check in” which could include monitoring where they go as well as who the victim speaks to.

What is gaslighting? 
Gaslighting is an extreme form of manipulation that causes the victim to doubt what they know to be true. Victims may begin to question their own memory, perception and sanity.

Sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual activity. This unwanted activity can leave a victim feeling ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated. 

  • Sexual abuse may include: forced sex or even “sexting” (sending sexually explicit messages and/or photographs), uncomfortable positions, forcing a victim to participate in demeaning behaviors, violence during sex, denying contraception or protection from sexually transmitted diseases, forcing a victim to engage in activities with other partners.

Financial abuse is a very powerful tactic that keeps victims feeling trapped. Lack of financial resources can be a difficult barrier to overcome when trying to leave a relationship, often being the reason victims return to the abuser. 

  • Financial abuse may include: restricting access to the bank accounts, withholding money or providing only an allowance, running up debt or ruining their partner’s credit, prohibiting the victim from working or interfering with their job by showing up or calling constantly, hiding assets.