Abuse includes physical, sexual or emotional attacks, ranging from mild to lethal. It is important to recognize patterns that define an abusive relationship and to understand that this behaviour is not acceptable.
Physical abuse includes more obvious attacks such as rape and threats with a weapon; hitting, punching, slapping, pushing, shoving, kicking, choking, and throwing objects at you. But it also includes holding to prevent leaving, locking you out of the house, abandoning you in dangerous places, refusing to help when you are sick, injured or pregnant, subjecting you to reckless driving, forcing you off the road or keeping you from driving.
Sexual abuse includes making anti-women jokes and demeaning remarks about women; treating women as sex objects, calling women derogatory sexual names, using force in sexual relationships. A more complete list of this type of abuse is available at the Women’s Contact Society.
Emotional abuse is sometimes even harder than sexual abuse to define and recognize. Almost everyone does it at some time or other and many couples develop a habit of hurling insults at each other. It is often hard to determine who did what to whom first, especially if the injury is delivered in a subtle way.
Has your partner done any of these to you:
• ignored your feelings
• ridiculed or insulted women as a group
• ridiculed or insulted your most valued beliefs, your religion, race, heritage or class.
• withheld approval, appreciation or affection as punishment.
• continually criticized you, called you names, shouted at you.
• insulted or drove away your friends or family.
• humiliated you in private or public.
• refused to socialize with you.
• kept you from working, controlling your money, made all decisions.
• refused to work or share money.
• took car keys or money away.
• regularly threatened to leave or told you to leave.
• threatened to hurt you or your family.
• punished or deprived the children when he was angry at you.
• threatened to kidnap the children if you left him.
• abused pets to hurt you.
• told you about his affairs.
• harassed you about affairs he imagined you were having.
• manipulated you with lies and contradictions.
In social situations and when
dating be wary of men who:
• Do not listen to you, ignore you or talk over you.
• Sit or stand too close to you, making you uncomfortable and seem to enjoy it.
• Do only what they want or push you to get what they want.
• Express anger and violence towards women either through words or physically.
• Have a bad attitude toward women.
• Are overly possessive or jealous.
• Drink or use drugs heavily.
• Have a reputation for “scoring.”