Types of Abuse
An abuser can use physical force against you in the form of slapping, pushing, hitting, punching, choking, physically holding you to keep you from leaving, twisting limbs, throwing objects at you, using weapons, destroying or damaging property, and/or disposing of belongings without consent. It can be actual or attempted, with the intent to injure, control or make you frightened.
Sexual abuse includes any forced or unwanted sexual activity including rape. Unwanted kissing or touching, or forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do (eg. looking at pornography) is also sexual abuse. Humiliation can often play a part in sexual abuse.
This has links with sexual abuse, but is uniquely related to women’s (particularly young women’s) ability to control their own reproductive health, for example, use or non-use of contraception/ contraceptive method, forcing you to make decisions around pregnancy and/or termination, and having little say in the number and timing of your children.
This can include insults, constant put-downs, name calling and yelling, being told that are unattractive, inferior, incompetent or that you don’t have the ability to cope or succeed on your own. Verbal abuse has a link with emotional abuse.
Emotional/psychological abuse occurs when you are made to feel scared, intimidated, insane, stupid or worthless. Examples include threats to harm or kill you, or to abduct or harm children, threatening with guns or other weapons, criticism, hurting or killing pets, denying or minimising the abuse and blaming you for it. Doing things to confuse you, withholding important information or not including you in important decision-making can also be forms of emotional abuse.
Any form of behaviour that isolates you from family or friends, is recognised as social abuse. it can be about criticising or being suspicious of your family and friends, controlling your use of mobiles, phones and internet, and use of the family car, deliberately physically isolating you in your home or making you move away from family and friends, and demanding to know where you and who you are with at all times.
Financial abuse can cause women and children to live in poverty. It involves controlling your money by denying access to bank accounts, forcing the surrender of bankcards and credit cards to gain control of your income preventing you from seeking or maintaining employment and denying you any input into financial decisions. Financial abuse can also include making you ask for money for basic items such as food, petrol and clothing, and forcing you to provide receipts to account for your spending.
Spiritual abuse undermines your self-identity by criticising your spiritual beliefs, quoting religious texts to justify abusive behaviour and denying you freedom to speak your own language and practice your own culture.
Damage to property
This occurs when the house, household furniture or anything else that you own or use is purposefully damaged or broken. It could include breaking items in your kitchen like plates and cups, breaking children’s’ toys, kicking or punching holes in walls or damaging your car. This kind of abuse is designed to intimidate and frighten you.
Stalking is intended to intimidate and harass you. It can include following you to your work or place of study, home or when you’re out in public. It can be about the abuser physically watching you, calling, texting, emailing,using social media (such as signing into your Facebook or twitter accounts). It may also involve your family and friends being harassed and intimidated.
This is an emerging form of abuse that is linked to stalking, psychological abuse and other forms of domestic violence. It can mean that technology is used to directly or indirectly monitor and stalk you. This can sometimes occur without your knowing, such as personal information being posted on websites and tracking devices being installed in cars and mobile phones eg GPS, spyware, listening devices, hidden cameras, and keystroke-logging hardware.
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The threat to engage in any of the above forms of abuse is also an act of abuse in itself. Often more than one form of abuse occurs at any one time in a relationship and these can often be interlinked.