Physical Abuse: Any unnecessary or unwanted physical contact, caused by another person, resulting in bodily harm, discomfort and/or injury. (e.g., slapping, kicking, restraining, choking, and restricting food)

Sexual Abuse: Any unwelcome or forced sexual activities. (e.g. unwanted sexual contact, forces you to have sex, forcing you to have sex with others, uttering threats to obtain sex)

Social Abuse: Any public behaviour intended to embarrass or put you down

Psychological/Emotional Abuse: Any act that provokes fear, diminishes the individual’s dignity or self-worth, and/or intentionally inflects psychological trauma on another person. (e.g. yelling, intimidating, silence, playing on emotions, degradation)

Verbal Abuse: The use of negative comments that are unwelcome, embarrassing, offensive, threatening and/or degrading to a woman. (e.g. name calling, false accusations, lying, saying one thing and meaning another.)

Identity Abuse: Outing or threatening to out the partner to such people as family, boss, or neighbors. Asserting that the partner will never have another relationship because she is too ugly or too old. Blaming the abuse on the partner’s identity. Ridiculing the partner’s physical challenges or exploiting them. Ridiculing the partner’s gender identity: appearance, dress, voice quality, grooming, etc.

Financial Abuse: Any behaviour that reduces/eliminates a woman’s financial independence and/or financial decision-making. (e.g. taking your money, forging your name, withholding money)

Using Children: In order to control what you do the abuser will use threats of harm the children. The abuser can make you feel guilty about the children and/or using them to relay messages.

Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships

Economic Dependence: Women of abusive relationships are often economically abused by their partners. This economic abuse consists of anything from preventing her from working to taking her paycheck. As such, women in abusive relationships are economically dependent on their partners and are confronted with many obstacles when making the decision to leave the relationship.

Safety Concerns: Women leaving, or contemplating leaving, abusive relationships must also face the threat of retaliation from their partners.

Social Factors: Society places enormous pressures on women to keep their families together and to maintain healthy and happy households.

Social Isolation: Social isolation is prominent in abusive relationships. Abusers often make it emotionally and/or physically difficult for their partners to socialize with family and friends and women, over time, lose their support networks.

Legal Issues: Abused women must also consider legal issues associated with the break-up of her family. Women fear the economic costs of legal representation and court, the loss of custody of their children, and loss of home, vehicle, furniture and belongings.

Emotional Factors: Women enter into relationships because they loved their partners. Often, relationships will turn violent after it has been established and an emotional commitment has been made. This love does not disappear in the presence of abuse. Many abused women are hesitant to leave their partners because they love their partner and want to believe that he/she will change.