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What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and sexual assault.

The goal of the abuser is always control – to gain control over you emotionally and physically. Abusers may use all forms of abuse, or just one. There is no kind of abuse that’s “worse” than others, all forms of domestic abuse result in the victim feeling afraid, hopeless, confused and ashamed.

Some kinds of physical abuse:
• Making threatening gestures
• Physically intimidating you, standing close to you or blocking your exit
• Breaking things, destroying property, punching the wall near you
• Harming or threatening your children
• Squeezing your arms tightly, pinning you down (telling you it was “just a joke”)
• Pulling hair, slapping, kicking
• Pushing you off balance
• Displaying weapons in a threatening way
• Hurting your pet
• Locking you out of your home or locking you up in a room or a closet
• Abuse from your spouse/partner’s relatives

Some kinds of emotional abuse:
• Criticism, emotional attacks, explosive “yelling”
• Ridiculing you in front of people
• Threatening to divorce you or to get a new wife
• Threatening to kick you out of your home or to deport you
• Discounting your achievements to undermine your confidence
• Mind games; name calling
• Controlling the communication, when and how you talk about things
• Threatening suicide if you leave
• Verbal threats to inflict bodily harm
• Constantly checking up on you
• Extreme jealousy

Some kinds of sexual abuse:
• Making sexual comments about your body that make you feel uncomfortable
• Pressuring you to have sex

• Sexual assualt –  rape/forced sex
• Making you engage in sexual acts you are uncomfortable with
• Forcing you to watch or look at pornography
• Calling you “frigid” or “uptight” (or a “whore” or “loose”) – criticizing your sexuality
• Having sexual affairs with others or threatening to do this
• Forced marriage

Find out more about domestic violence.