What can violence look like?

Abuse is a pattern of behaviors one person uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner.

Many people assume abuse means that physical violence is happening, but that’s not always the case! Abuse comes in many forms—it’s not just physical. Explore below to learn a few of the common types of abuse so you can better identify them.

Types of Abuse


Includes bodily harm, discomfort or injury including hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, pushing, burning, biting, torture, restraining, assault with a weapon, withholding of food and/or medical care, and/or murder.


Any act that provokes fear, diminishes the survivor's dignity or sense of self-worth, and/or intentionally inflicts psychological trauma as a means of exerting power and control over the woman, non-binary, and trans individuals. Psychological abuse can include criticism, degradation, humiliation, excessive possessiveness, threats (suicidal, homicidal, deportation, kidnapping children, harming family, friends and/or pets), controlling a person’s daily activities, social isolation, and/or purposeful destruction of property and/or pets.


Includes any act of forced sexual activity, sexual harassment, unwanted sexual touching, the refusal to use protection from STD’s or unwanted pregnancy during sex, and forced exposure to or participation in pornography or prostitution.


The use of comments that are known or that ought to be known to be unwelcome, threatening, degrading, offensive, and/or embarrassing.


The misuse of an individual’s money or belongings by another individual. Economic abuse includes, but is not limited to, the withholding and/or restricting of money needed for food and/or clothing, denying the right to seek and/or maintain employment, taking personal money, denying independent access to money, and/or excluding the victim from financial decision-making.


Includes degrading another person’s spiritual beliefs, withholding the means to practice, and/or forcing adherence to a belief system

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