What Is Abuse?
Abuse comes in many forms and is not just physical or sexual assault. It is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse.
It's About Power & Control
- What they are allowed to wear
- Who they are allowed to talk to
- What they are allowed to purchase
- Whether or not they are allowed to work
- The amount of contact with family and friends
- Parenting of the children
Does This Sound Familiar?
Do you feel like any or all of these aspects of your life are being controlled by your intimate partner?
If so, how is your partner able to control your behaviour? Is it through fear?
Are you being threatened directly or are there threats directed at loved ones including your children or pets?
Are you made to feel inadequate or incapable of handling tasks on your own?
Do you have access to the family finances or does your partner use finances to control your lifestyle?
Are you able to socialize freely with family and friends?
Do you suffer from constant harassment from your partner?
Are you free to practice in your spiritual beliefs or are your beliefs ridiculed?
- Pushed or shoved
- Slapped or punched
- Choked or held against your will
- Objects thrown at you
- Or even through acts or gestures
Answering yes to any number of these questions may indicate that you are in an abusive relationship.
- Repeated following of the victim or a person known to the victim
- Repeated communication (phone calls, letters, emails) directly or indirectly (through another
- person) with the victim
- Watching or besetting any place where the victim may be
- Threatening conduct towards the victim or any member of the victims family
- If any of these behaviours cause the victim to have a reasonable concern for their safety then the
- criminal code definition has been met.
- Harassment as laid out in the Family Law Act or the Children's Law Reform Act would have a
- broader definition which would lower the threshold. This would include all of the behaviours listed
- in the criminal code definition but the behaviours would stand on their own whether or not the
- victim has a reasonable fear.
- While not all domestic abuse will result in criminal charges it is necessary to recognize it for what
- it is and take the appropriate steps to end the abuse.
- Many victims do not even recognize the abuse until it has escalated to the point where they are in
- serious danger.
- Recognizing the signs early can greatly increase the safety of abuse victims by taking action before
- this escalation occurs
Definitions Of Abuse
Psychological And Emotional Abuse
Is any act that provokes fear, diminishes the woman's dignity or sense of self-worth, and/or intentionally inflicts psychological trauma as a means of exerting power and control over the woman. These may include, but are not limited to, on-going criticism, intimidation, humiliation, overly sarcastic comments, passive/aggressive control, harassment, threats to harm self or others, threats to harm pets, threats associated with immigration status, threats to take children away, inappropriate expressions of jealousy, brainwashing, dominance, degradation, possessiveness, control over daily activities, social isolation, purposeful destruction of property and use of privilege in society to threaten or coerce.
Includes controlling or restricting money to buy necessities such as medicine, medical supplies, food and clothing. It also includes withholding information about household financial matters, denying access to bank accounts and coercion to sign financial documents. Financial abuse can also include denying the right to seek and/or maintain employment, taking personal money, denying independent access to money, and/or excluding the woman from financial decision-making.
Includes bodily harm, discomfort or injury caused by hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, pushing, burning, biting, spitting, dragging, pulling, using weapons and objects, restraining, confining, stalking and/or the withholding of food and/or medical attention.
Includes any unwanted or forced sexual activity, including touching and intercourse. It also includes the possibility of exposure to sexual transmitted diseases and/or pregnancy by denying the use of protection during intercourse, and forced exposure to or participation in pornography or prostitution. It also includes withholding sex and demeaning women sexually through jokes, and sexual accusations.
Includes degrading the woman's spiritual beliefs, withholding the means to practice, and/or forcing adherence to a particular belief system.
Stalking and Harassment
Includes behaviour which, in some cases, are against the law and known as "criminal harassment"? One of the key elements, which turn stalking behaviour into a crime, is the woman?s fear for her own safety or the safety of others. Stalking and harassment can take many different forms but usually is a pattern formed by repeated actions, or a series of different incidents. Each small incident may not seem important, but all the incidents together constitute a pattern. There is no complete list of stalking behaviour as these behaviours are added to from experience.