When you’re in the thick of things, it can be difficult to determine if what you’re experiencing is intimate partner violence/abuse. The common depiction of abuse is black eyes and bruises. That happens, but, it’s important to know violence can take other forms like emotional or psychological, sexual, financial, and/or spiritual abuse.
Violence and abuse are best understood as a pattern of behaviour intended to establish power and maintain control over family, household members, intimate partners, colleagues or groups. The roots of all forms of violence and abuse are found in the many types of inequality which continue to exist and grow in our society.
An abusive relationship can include any aspects of the behaviours listed above. Violence and abuse may occur only once, it can involve various tactics of subtle manipulation or it may occur frequently while escalating over a period of months or years. No matter the form, violence, and abuse profoundly affect individual health and well-being.
Remember, abuse happens to all types of people regardless of age, gender, race, economic or social status, or sexual orientation. And remember, abuse is never the victim’s fault, and help is always available.
Definitions from this page are partially retrieved from the Violence Prevention Initiative website.