Types of Abuse


Emotional, Physical, Sexual, Social, Spiritual, Financial, and Digital

  • Emotional abuse always accompanies, and in most cases precedes, physical battering. Targeted, repeated emotional abuse can severely affect the victim’s sense of self and of reality. Emotional abuse includes hurtful behaviors, words, and actions designed to degrade, intimidate, manipulate, isolate, or humiliate.
  • Physical abuse often begins with less violent actions and escalates as it continues. Often areas of the body that are less visible are targeted, such as abdomen, buttocks, breasts, scalp, etc. Abuse often starts or increases when the abuser and victim get married, or when a victim becomes pregnant.
  • Abusers often use sexual assaults as a tool against their partner.
  • Spiritual abuse is often used by abusers to keep victims in the abusive relationship. Tactics—most often used by men against women—include using teachings and traditions to encourage, excuse, and justify male privilege and power over women. Sometimes, the abuser will convince the victim that they are to blame for the crimes or sins of the abuser.
  • Partners who are financially dependent on abusers have fewer resources for leaving an abusive situation.
  • Digital abuse typically occurs online and can be in private messages or emails, and also on public social media sites.

PATTERNS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE

  • Name calling
  • Yelling
  • Frightening or intimidating
  • Threats, threats of suicide
  • Constantly attacking self-esteem
  • Destroying property or sentimental items
  • Threatening to take or hurt the children
  • Threatening to hurt or kill the pets
  • Isolation from friends and/or family
  • Threatening to tell friends and/or family lies
  • Destroying property or sentimental items
  • Insulting characteristics of victim – age, race, values, culture, abilities, etc.
  • Spending hours cleaning guns or knives in front of the victim
  • Blaming the victim for all the abuser’s troubles and failures
  • Not permitting victim to do certain things
  • Questioning the victim’s logic, sanity, or ability to make decisions
  • Repeated statements to convince the victim that no one else will love him/her
  • Same gender relationships – threatening to “out” someone
  • Undocumented individuals – threatening to call ICE, threats of deportation
  • People with different abilities – withholding or destroying assistance devices

PATTERNS OF SOCIAL ABUSE

  • Insisting that the couple spend all time together
  • Discouraging the victim from seeing friends or family
  • Forbidding the victim to see friends or family
  • Monitoring the victim’s mail or phone calls
  • Checking the odometer
  • Restricting access to the car or car keys
  • Telling others the victim is crazy or abusive

PATTERNS OF PHYSICAL ABUSE:

  • Pinching and/or squeezing in a painful way
  • Trapping, blocking, restraining
  • Biting, spitting, pinching, pulling/grabbing hair
  • Slapping, kicking, tripping, pushing, or punching
  • Holding down
  • Throwing objects
  • Hitting the victim’s head against door, wall, or floor
  • Strangling, smothering
  • Denying the victim medical treatment
  • Not allowing food or access to bathroom, medicine, disrupting sleep
  • Threatening with or using weapons
  • Attempted or completed homicide

PATTERNS OF SEXUAL ABUSE

  • Making degrading comments about the victim’s body or sexual performance
  • Objectification of the victim’s body
  • Sexual jokes
  • Criticizing the victim’s sexuality or sexual preferences
  • Withholding sex
  • Forcing, coercing, or intimidating the victim into having sexual contact or intercourse that is non-consensual
  • Forcing sexual contact with other individuals
  • Forcing the victim to witness sexual contact of other people
  • Refusal to share information about past sexual history or STIs
  • Knowingly not using protection and/or infecting someone with STIs, including HIV and hepatitis
  • Forcing a person to look at, engage in, or pose for pornography
  • Coercing prostitution
  • Forcing sex after physical assault
  • Forcing children to witness sexual contact
  • Rape
  • Refusal to use protection
  • Forcing the use of, or prohibiting the use of contraception
  • Forcing or forbidding an abortion
  • Using weapons in sexual acts
  • Affairs and infidelity

PATTERNS OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE

  • Forcing the conversion to a different religion
  • Not allowing a victim to practice their religion
  • Not allowing attendance at religious services
  • Forcing attendance at religious services
  • Degrading what is sacred to a victim
  • Humiliation in front of people affiliated with the victim’s religion or spirituality
  • Using religion to justify abuse

PATTERNS OF FINANCIAL ABUSE

  • Keeping financial secrets
  • Not permitting work, forcing multiple jobs
  • Controlling all the household income, forcing victim to turn over paychecks to abuser
  • Harassing or stalking at a workplace, may lead to termination
  • Withholding or taking debit or credit cards
  • Taking money from savings or retirement
  • Engaging in behaviors that may lead to eviction of victim
  • Monitoring the victim’s spending
  • Forcing the purchase of things that household cannot afford
  • Having abuser’s name on all property and accounts
  • Controlling all financial decisions for the household

PATTERNS OF DIGITAL ABUSE

  • Tells you who you can or cannot have as social media friends
  • Uses social media sites to monitor your locations
  • Looks through your phone or tablet frequently reads your texts, emails and looks at your pictures
  • Sends you negative, insulting, or threatening messages or emails
  • Puts in you down in posts or status updates
  • Insists on having your passwords, steals your password without your permission
  • Pressures you to send explicit photos or videos
  • Sends you unwanted explicit photos or videos