Abuse is...

the mistreatment of another person. It can occur in any of the following forms and may be criminal in nature.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse occurs when an individual uses physical pain or the threat of physical force to intimidate or harm another person. Physical abuse can consist of hitting, pinching, biting, choking, stabbing, strangling, shoving, restraining, hair pulling, kicking, burning, spitting, preventing one from seeking medical care, driving recklessly, standing over you for the purpose of intimidation, tying or confining you, breaking things, being held captive, preventing you from eating or sleeping, and abandoning you in a dangerous place.  

Financial abuse

Financial abuse involves the unauthorized use of funds, property or resources belonging to another individual. Financial abuse can consist of preventing access to money, accounts, financial information, property, possessions, and inheritance, forcing changes to will & testament, making you beg/ask for money, giving an allowance, preventing you from having/keeping a job or returning to school, not including you in family financial decisions, taking or withholding your money, forcing you to work illegally, forcing you to sign papers and put your name on accounts, and having hidden/secret bank accounts.

Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse occurs when one uses words or body language to criticize or put down another individual. Verbal abuse consists of degrading you in front of friends & family, telling hurtful “jokes”, yelling, insulting you, name calling, stating you will never be able to make it on your own, stating no one will ever want to be with you if you leave, racist comments, blaming, accusing, questioning your sanity, humiliating you, taking statements out of context, lying or recreating events, silent treatment, using loud or threatening language and tone to cause fear, and talking over you. 

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse involves manipulation and control over another person. Emotional abuse can consist of insults, embarrassment, not listening to or respecting your feelings, criticisms and name calling, trying to make one think he/she is crazy, playing mind games, being possessive and jealous, threatening to hurt or kill family members, friends & pets, and destroying ones belongings. 

Stalking/Criminal Harassment

Stalking/criminal harassment involves repeated conduct carried out over a period of time that causes one to be fearful of an individual. Stalking can consist of an individual showing up at your work or home uninvited, sending unwanted letters, mail, texts, and emails, damaging your home or property, unwanted phone calls & voicemails, following you, using social networking sites to track your location, contacting family & friends to acquire information about you and sending messages through others to you.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves any unwanted or forced sexual contact. Sexual abuse consists of touching in a sexual manner without consent, non-consensual sexual intercourse, demanding sex, withholding sex as a form of control, insisting on anything sexual that frightens or hurts you, forcing you to use or participate in pornography, forcing you to have unprotected sex, have an abortion, or have sex with other people, threatening to have affairs, accusing you of having an affair if you refuse to have sex and forcing you to watch as he/she has sex with another person.

Spiritual abuse

Spiritual abuse occurs when spiritual beliefs are used to manipulate, dominate, and control an individual. Spiritual abuse can consist of forcing a spiritual belief onto someone, belittling/making fun of beliefs, religion, or traditions and not allowing one to attend or follow their preferred spiritual beliefs. 

Warning signs of an abusive personality

  • A push for a quick involvement: Comes on very strong, claiming “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone.” An abuser pressures the women for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.

  • Jealousy: Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly, prevents you from going to work because “you might meet someone,” checks the mileage on your car.

  • Controlling: Interrogates you intensely (especially if you are late) about whom you talked to and where you were, keeps all the money, insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.

  • Unrealistic Expectations: Expects you to be the perfect women and meet his every need.

  • Isolation: Tries to cut you off from your family and friends; accuses people who are supporters of “causing trouble,” the abuser may deprive you of the phone or car or try to prevent you from holding a job.

  • Blames others for problems and mistakes: The boss – it’s always someone else’s fault if anything goes wrong.

  • Makes everyone else responsible for his feelings: The abuser says “You make angry” instead of “I am angry.” Less obvious is the claim “You make me happy.”

  • Hypersensitivity: Is easily insulted, claiming that his feelings are hurt when he is really mad. He will rant about the injustice of things that are part of life.

  • Cruelty to animals and children: Kills or punishes animals brutally. Also may expect children to do things that are beyond their ability or tease them until they cry. Sixty-five percent of abusers who beat their partners will also abuse their children.

  • “Playful” use of force during sex:  Enjoys throwing you or holding you down against your will during sex; says he finds the idea of rape exciting.

  • Rigid sex roles: Expects you to serve, obey, and remain in the home.

  • Sudden mood swings: Switches from loving to explosive/violent in a matter of minutes.

  • Past battering: Admits to hitting women in the past, but says they made him do it or the situations brought it on.

  • Threats of violence: Makes statements like “I’ll kill you” and then dismisses them with “Everybody talks that way” or “I didn’t mean it.” If he comes this far, it is time to get help or get out.

Teen dating violence  

Teen dating violence is defined as the physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, or financial violence within a dating relationship. Teen dating violence can also include stalking and electronic abuse. Violence within a teen relationship can have serious short-term and long-term effects.

It is important to know the signs of abuse and where/how to seek the appropriate help. For more information on teen dating violence click on one of the links below:

Teen Dating Violence

Love is Respect