Relationship abuse is a pattern of behaviors used to gain or maintain power and control over a partner, which can manifest in a number of ways, and there’s usually more than one form of abusive behavior occurring in an abusive relationship.
Understanding the various ways that abuse appears and intersects can prepare you to respond to situations safely for yourself and others.
You may be experiencing physical abuse if your partner has or repeatedly does any of the following abusive behaviors:
You may be in an emotionally- or verbally-abusive relationship if your partner attempts to exert control by:
You may be experiencing sexual abuse if your partner has or repeatedly does any of the following:
Sexual coercion lies on the continuum of sexually aggressive behavior, and it may vary in practice from begging and persuasion to forced sexual contact. It may be verbal and emotional through statements made to pressure, guilt, or shame, or it may appear more subtly. Even if your partner isn’t forcing you to perform sexual acts against your will, making you feel obligated to do them at all is coercion in itself.
Being in a relationship—no matter what the arrangement—never means that you owe your partner intimacy of any kind.
Examples of sexually coercive behavior include:
Financial or economic abuse occurs when an abusive partner extends their power and control into your financial situation.
This abuse can take many forms and may include:
Stalking occurs when someone watches, follows, or harasses you repeatedly, making you feel afraid or unsafe, and may occur from someone you know, a past partner, or a stranger.
Common examples of stalking include:
Digital abuse is the use of technology and the Internet to bully, harass, stalk, intimidate, or control a partner. This behavior is often a form of verbal or emotional abuse conducted online.
Digital abuse comes with its own unique concerns and stipulations to consider.
Examples of digitally abusive behavior include:
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