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You are here: Home >> Resources >> Handouts >> Definitions of Battering and Abuse

September, 2004

Domestic violence is often experience as a combination of physical, sexual, and or emotional abuse.  The following are some examples of the range of battering and abuse that can occur.  This lists includes examples of behaviors and actions that are violent and abusive.  In working with women to assess their experiences with domestic violence, include questions sure as, "Does your intimate partner do any of these to you."

Physical Abuse

Pushes her
Injuries her with slaps, kicks, and punches
Exposes her to risks, such as reckless driving
Throws objects
Threatens or injures her with a weapon
Physically prevents her from leaving the house
Locks her out of the house
Abandons her in dangerous places
Refuses to help when she is sick, injured, or pregnant
Prevents her from seeking medical care
Keeps her awake at night against her will
Refuses to buy food or other articles necessary (for the family)
Destroys property
Abuses the children
Threatens to injure her family or friends

Sexual Abuse

Withholds sex and affection
Forces her to strip when she doesn't want to
Commits cruel sexual acts
Forces her to have sex against her will, "rapes" her
Forces her to have sex after a beating, "rapes" her
Extremely jealous, accuses her of having affairs
Forces her to watch and/or repeat pornographic acts

Emotional Abuse

Continually criticizes her, yelling and/or insulting (e.g. telling her she is too fat, too skinny, too stupid, bad mother, bad partner,  bad lover)
Ignores her feelings
Ridicules her most valued beliefs
Denies her affections punishment
Refuses to work and share financial responsibilities
Keeps her from working
Manipulates her with lies and contradictions
Insults family and friends to drive them away
Refuses to socialize with her
Prevents contact with family and friends
Keeps her from using the telephone
Controls all the money and makes all financial decisions
Humiliates her in public
Harasses her at work
Threatens to leave or throw her out of the house
Threatens to kidnap the children
Punishes or deprives the children

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