Types of Abuse

There are different types of abuse:

Coercive Control
Coercive Control is now a Crime in Ireland. Coercive Control is more than an argument that spirals into physicality; it is a persistent pattern of behaviours which has the purpose of removing a woman’s sense of self and can include the loss of liberty and freedom of movement. Coercive control tactics can include:
• Threats or intimidation
• Isolating/destroying the partner’s outside relationships in the workplace, as well as from friends and family (including restricting normal social activity — shopping, medical appointments, Parent/Teacher events — the list is not exhaustive)
• Controlling access to information and services
• Stalking, whether actual or remote via surveillance
• Unwanted face-to-face, telephone or electronic contact
• ‘Where are you now’ and ‘take a picture and prove where you are now’
• Monitoring of telephone calls
• Dress ‘codes’ and ‘rules’
• Forcing/restricting the consumption of food
• Hacking
• Creating a series of infractions of ‘rules’, whether actual or imaginary, requiring the ‘punishment’ of the partner and/or the children
• Economic control and/or exploitation
• Sexual abuse/violence, to include unwanted pregnancy
• Constant monitoring of movement and criticism
• Emotional hostage-taking
• The causing of fear and confusion

Often, the woman who experiences coercive control needs to adopt defensive behaviours in order to live, function and survive day-to-day ‘family’ life. This can have a serious impact including the fear of violence, cause serious alarm and distress and can result in a woman giving up work, changing her routines, losing contact with family and friends. Coercive control can damage a woman’s physical and emotional well-being.

Emotional Abuse
Emotional Abuse undermines a person’s feelings of self-worth and independence. In an emotionally abusive relationship, you may feel that there is no way out or that without your partner you’ll have nothing. You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:
• Continually criticises you, calls you names, and shouts at you
• Does not trust you and acts jealous or possessive
• Prevents you from spending time with your family or friends
• Makes all the decisions in the relationship
• Monitors where you go, who you call, and who you spend time with
• Ignores and/or dismisses your opinions or accomplishments
• Does not want you to go to work
• Controls finances or refuses to share money
• Withholds approval, appreciation, or affection as punishment
• Threatens to hurt you, your children, your family, or your pets
• Makes you afraid by using looks, gestures, or actions
• Says that you were ‘asking for it’ after physically hitting or abusing you

Physical Abuse
Physical Abuse often starts with a push, shove or slap that escalates over time. An abuser will often blame you for saying or doing something that ‘caused’ their violent or abusive actions. Abusers will also blame drugs, alcohol or stress for ‘causing’ their behaviours. You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner has ever:

• Damaged property when angry including throwing objects, punching walls, kicking doors
• Grabbed, pushed, slapped, bitten or kicked you
• Choked, punched or burned you
• Forced alcohol or drug use on you
• Used a weapon to threaten or hurt you
• Trapped you in your home or kept you from leaving
• Prevented you from calling the Gardaí or seeking medical attention
• Hurt your children
• Prevented you from sleeping
• Used physical force during sexual interactions

Sexual Abuse
Sexual Abuse is any unwanted sexual behaviour that makes a person feel uncomfortable, threatened or scared. Sexual Abuse isn’t always about abusers getting pleasure from sex. It can also be about them enjoying asserting power and control over their partners. Some offenders have been abused themselves, but this isn’t always the case. Sexual Abuse is a serious crime and is never the fault of the survivor. You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner:
• Coerces sex by manipulation or threat of physical force
• Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles
• Demands sex at a time you are not willing
• Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships
• Wants you to dress in a sexual way that makes you uncomfortable
• Insults you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names
• Wants violent sex
• Demands sex when you were sick, tired or after beating you
• Hurts you with weapons or objects during sex.
• Records you during sexual interactions without your consent
• Threatens to circulate sexual videos of you if you try to leave the relationship

Financial Abuse
Financial Abuse is a form of abuse in which the abuser uses money as a means of controlling their partner. It is a tactic that an abuser uses to gain power and dominance over his partner and is designed to isolate a woman into a state of complete financial dependence. By controlling a woman’s access to financial resources, the abuser ensures that she will be forced to choose between staying in an abusive relationship or facing extreme poverty. Without money options dwindle: no place to go, no means to get there, no way to provide for basic needs. You may be in a financially abusive relationship if your partner:
• Refuses to allow you to work or access education, or engages in activities that make it impossible for you to do so
• Forges your name on cheques or documents
• Withholds money or credit cards
• Uses recession to justify abuse
• Making you account for every penny spent or gives you an unrealistic weekly budget which you struggle to stay within
• Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medication, shelter)
• Withholding money because you do not want to have sex
• Taking control of any child maintenance payments
•He makes all the decisions about money and does not take your opinion into consideration

You could be living with one of these behaviours or all of them. Remember, Domestic Violence and Abuse is not just physical violence; it is any behaviour that aims to exert control over you.