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Warnings Signs

Abuse isn’t always physical

When people hear “domestic abuse” they will usually think of a woman covered in bruises, but abuse isn’t always physical: not all bruises are visible.

Does your partner…

  • Get jealous or possessive?
  • Dissuade and/or stop you from seeing family or friends?
  • Monitor your movements?
  • Tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go or what to think?
  • Verbally abuse you?
  • Criticise and accuse you?
  • Threaten you, your pets or people you care about?
  • Force you (physically or emotionally) to have sex or engage in foreplay?
  • Check your phone?
  • Control your money?
  • Humiliate, ridicule or shame you in-front of others?
  • Refuse to let you spend time alone?
  • Lie to you?
  • Make you question your achievements or professional competence?
  • Make you question your self-worth?
  • Change his mood from one moment to the next?
  • Make you feel frightened or unsafe?
  • Move you away from your support network?
  • Convince you to commit benefit fraud or illegal acts?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, you may be experiencing domestic abuse. Come and talk to us at a Drop In or give us a call for some information and no strings attached advice in a non-judgemental environment. We know it can be difficult and overwhelming to come to terms with being a victim of domestic abuse. We are here for you.

What is emotional abuse / coercive control?

Coercive control is a form of emotional abuse. It is a pattern of behaviour in which the perpetrator gradually insults, shames, judges, controls and humiliates a woman as the relationship evolves, in order to instil the feeling of fear and punishment and restrict the woman’s freedom. This might come hand in hand with “love bombing” at the beginning of the relationship and expressions of remorse (which provide hope) but no changes in the abusive behaviour from the perpetrator. This usually results in the woman feeling uncomfortable, confused, anxious, doubtful, scared and disempowered because she internalises the emotional abuse as her own feelings and is made to believe that she is to blame for the perpetrator’s behaviour. It can be as subtle as sarcasm, dismissing or judging the woman’s feelings and instead telling her what she feels. Emotional abuse can also lead to the woman having nightmares, increased heart rate, difficulty concentrating and social withdrawal.

Coercive control is a criminal offence in the UK.

What is sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse is if you are engaging in sexual activity that physically or emotionally hurts you or that you are not comfortable with, simply for the pleasure of your partner. You might feel “dirty” or “used” after engaging in sexual acts because your partner manipulated or threatened you into the act. If you don’t feel comfortable saying “no”, it is sexual abuse. If you feel like you are punished for not engaging in sexual acts, it is sexual abuse. If you feel like the only way you receive affection from your partner is through sex, then it is sexual abuse. If you feel you are punished by being forced to have sex, then it is sexual abuse.

Marital rape is a criminal offence in the UK.

What is economic abuse?

Economic abuse is an aspect of coercive control, whereby the perpetrator restricts the woman’s freedom by controlling her spending and access to money, food, clothes. The charity Surviving Economic Abuse describes it as “designed to reinforce or create economic instability. In this way it limits women’s choices and ability to access safety. Lack of access to economic resources can result in women staying with abusive men for longer and experiencing more harm as a result.”

Economic abuse frequently happens post separation, for example with mortgages, house sales, repeated court appearances, disruption to or non payment of child maintenance, disrupting or not allowing you to go to work.

Under the new Domestic Abuse Bill, post-separation abuse is a criminal offence in the UK.