Types of Abuse

People often think of Physical abuse when they hear of domestic violence but most women who are abused will experience other forms of abuse along with physical or the threat of physical abuse.

Physical abuse
Physical abuse is perhaps the most recognisable form of abuse however it doesn't always leave visible marks or scars. Don't underestimate what is happening to you. Having your hair pulled or an egg thrown at you is domestic violence too. Over time it often gets worse and includes punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, hair pulling, pushing, shoving, burning, strangling, stabbing, breaking bones, using weapons, attempted murder and murder itself.  

Emotional/Psychological abuse
Emotional abuse is a highly effective means of establishing a power imbalance within a relationship. It is often unseen or intangible to those outside the relationship. Emotional abuse is as harmful as physical violence. It often involves CONTEMPT AND DISRESPECT threats of and actual physical or sexual abuse.

It includes:
•    being put down
•    being constantly criticised
•    being constantly controlled and monitored by the use of technology: including their phone use being checked and recorded; their mobile phone logs being checked and having all text messages read; abusers using spyware to read emails and secretly installing cameras in the house
•    threats by the abuser to kill women, the children, members of women's family, or himself, including details of how and when he will do it
•    property being destroyed including their cars, furniture, clothes, and home.
•    being referred to using derogatory language including calling women 'it', 'bitch'
•    being trapped as the abuser takes their car keys, empties the petrol from their cars, and steals or smashes phones so women cannot seek assistance
•    never being left on their own; women being followed room to room; being accompanied to all outside activities

Sexual abuse
Where there is a dynamic of control and abuse in an intimate relationship, the likelihood of sexual coercion and abuse is high. It is harder for women who are being abused by their partner to negotiate a free and equal sexual relationship with that partner.

It includes:
•    Being repeatedly raped and beaten; being forcibly stripped and raped; being told that it is their duty to have sex with the abuser
•    Being raped in front of the children
•    Being raped when particularly physically vulnerable, e.g., directly following childbirth
•    Sexual degradation including the enforced use of graphic and hardcore pornography

Financial abuse
Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence in which the abuser uses money as a means of controlling his partner. It is a tactic that abusers use to gain power and dominance over their partners and is designed to isolate a woman into a state of complete financial dependence. By controlling the woman's access to financial resources the abuser ensures that she will be forced to choose between staying in an abusive relationship and facing extreme poverty.

It includes:
•    Controlling the family finances
•    Not being allowed to have independent income
•    Having to account for all purchases including providing receipts and account for all spending
•    Not being allowed to buy personal items such as tampons and sanitary towels
•    Taking all of the woman's bank cards and emptying joint accounts
•    Non-payment or erratic payment of child maintenance
•    Women's signatures being forged on cheques
•    Withholding money because women do not want to have sex
•    Denying money for food for women and the children and money to pay household bills
•    Using the recession to justify the abuse

If you are, or think you may be in an abusive relationship, you can ring West Cork Women Against Violence on 1800 230 136 or 027 53847.  See Our Services page for times.