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Types of violence and abuse

Physical abuse

Physical abuse occurs when someone uses physical force to exert power and control over another. It can start slowly and gradually increase over time. Examples of physical abuse:

  • Hitting, slapping, kicking, biting or spitting
  • Throwing things or damaging property
  • Abusing children or pets
  • Locking someone in or out of the house
  • Dowry-related abuse

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is any form of forced or unwanted sexual activity. Examples of sexual abuse:

  • Forcing someone to have sex or conduct sexual activities without consent
  • Unwanted touching or exposure
  • Deliberately causing pain during sex
  • Forced sex without protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections
  • Making sexually degrading insults or jokes

Emotional and verbal abuse

Emotional and verbal abuse doesn’t leave physical scars but affects a person’s mental health and wellbeing. Examples of emotional and verbal abuse:

  • Blaming someone for all problems in the relationship
  • Name calling, yelling or comparing someone to others to undermine self-esteem
  • Intentionally embarrassing someone in public
  • Threatening to commit suicide
  • Making someone feel guilty for refusing sex
  • Threatening to cancel visa by reporting to immigration authorities

Financial abuse

Financial abuse occurs when a perpetrator takes control of bank accounts, preventing the victim from spending money or from working. Financial abuse includes:

  • Taking complete control of the finances
  • Restricting access to bank accounts and credit cards
  • Providing inadequate or no money for household expenses
  • Making constant demands for money (from wife’s family)

Social abuse

Social abuse occurs when a perpetrator isolates their partner from family and friends in order to assert power and control. Examples of social abuse:

  • Monitoring phone calls, messages, emails and social media platforms
  • Deciding which friends and family members their partner can see
  • Criticizing their partner’s family and friends
  • Moving to an isolated location where it’s hard for the partner to access family or friends
  • Forcing someone to marry against their will (forced marriage)

Spiritual abuse

Spiritual abuse includes denial or misuse of spiritual beliefs and practices to control another person. Examples of spiritual abuse:

  • Preventing someone from practicing their religion
  • Forcing someone to act against their religious beliefs
  • Ridiculing someone’s religious practices or beliefs
  • Use religion to justify violence

Stalking

Stalking occurs when a person intentionally continues to pursue someone against their will. Stalking makes the victim feel they have lost control over their life. Examples of stalking:

  • Constant calls or messages
  • Following someone home or to work
  • Leaving unwanted notes and flowers
  • Monitoring someone’s technological use e.g. phone, emails, social media

Image-based abuse

Image-based abuse refers to someone sharing or threatening to share intimate photos without the consent of the person in the photo. These could be:

  • Sharing intimate photos
  • Fully or partially nude photos
  • Photos depicting sexual acts
  • Photos of a person’s private parts
  • Adding a person’s face to pornographic or sexualized image and distributing those images.

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