November is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which was created in response to the difficulty in discussing issues of family violence and intimate partner violence in our community. The goal of Domestic Violence Awareness Month is to raise awareness of the importance of this issue and to reduce the stigma faced by survivors of domestic violence.
However, it’s also important to talk about what sort of behavior constitutes abuse. Stereotypically, there is the tendency to think of domestic violence as being physical. However, abuse can take a variety of forms, and can look like things we don’t necessarily think about or expect. So what exactly is abuse?
Abuse is about intimidation and control. It comes in many forms, including:
- Hitting, kicking, poking, pushing, biting, pulling hair, or any other unwanted touch
- Threatening to harm you or your children; once there has been a threat, fear is always present
Sexual Abuse: Any unwanted touch or comment that is sexual in nature.
Verbal Abuse: Name calling, insults, ridicule, humiliation, put-downs
- Is more subtle than verbal abuse, but more damaging
- Implied messages that you are not good enough, important, competent, intelligent, or loveable
- Suggestions that there is something wrong with you and that you have no value
- Control of another person’s money and economic resources
- Refusal to allow any input and control about how and where money is spent
- Refusal to give money needed for personal necessitites
- Refusal to let the other person know about their finances
- Demands that the other person hand over their paycheque without explaining where that money is going.