What is Abuse?

The following list of behaviours may help you identify past physical, sexual or emotional abuse. You may have been abused by an intimate partner, someone you have a child with, a family member or dating acquaintance. Violence is usually not an isolated incident, but a pattern of behaviours intended to harm or control.

You are not responsible for, nor do you deserve any abuse you receive, no matter what the circumstance. If you are experiencing abuse, you deserve support. The lists below are intended to be used for your personal information only and describes only some abusive behaviours.

  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Financial Abuse

  • Physical Abuse
    You have been physically abused if another person has:
  • held you down and kept you from leaving or getting up
  • bitten you
  • kicked you
  • choked (strangled) you
  • hit or punched you once, twice, or repeatedly, which may or may not have resulted in visible physical injury
  • tied or otherwise physically restrained you
  • thrown objects at you that may or may not have hit you
  • locked you out of your house
  • abandoned you in dangerous places
  • refused to help you (for example, to get medical help) when you were sick, injured, pregnant, or if you are physically disabled
  • locked you in a room or closet
  • pulled your arms, legs, or other body parts
  • threw you down or against a wall
  • ripped your clothing
  • threaten you with a weapon
  • used a weapon on you
  • hit or beat you with other objects
  • stabbed you
  • burned you
  • forced you to participate in violent rituals
  • spit on you
  • forced you to eat something you did not want

  • Emotional Abuse
    You have been emotionally abused if another person has:
  • ignored your feelings or made fun of them
  • constantly criticised and called you names
  • told you nothing you do is ever good enough no matter what you do or how hard you try
  • yelled and screamed at you
  • insulted friends or family, driving them away
  • put you down in front of others
  • avoided socialising with you (for example, going out with you but then ignoring you)
  • kept you from working or going to school, made all the decisions
  • taken away car keys or money
  • destroyed, sold or given away things that were important or of value to you
  • kept you from talking to or seeing your family or friends
  • theatened to hurt your family or friends
  • punished or kept things from the children when angry at you
  • threatened to kidnap or hurt the children
  • blamed you for any problmes, real or made up, with children
  • tried to control you with lies or contradictions
  • tried to control you with emotions (for example, threatened to commit suicide if you left)
  • threatened to tell or told your employer or family that you are lesbian in order to get you fired or
  • threatened to use weapons to harm you or to kill you

  • Sexual Abuse
    You have been sexually abused if another person has:
  • demanded sex when you did not want it
  • demanded you have sex with others
  • gave you a sexually transmitted disease
  • forced you to have an abortion
  • forced unwanted sexual acts
  • withheld sex
  • openly had sex with others
  • forced you to watch him/her having sex with others

  • Financial Abuse
    You have been financially abused if another person:
  • took your money or your child's money
  • refused to give money for necessities
  • does not pay court ordered child support
  • refused to let you work
  • forces you to work to support them
  • no participation in assets (is your name on assets-car title, home, bank account, etc)
  • makes all financial decisions for the family
  • doesn't let you see bank statements or tax returns