Types of Abusive Behavior

An abusive relationship -married or dating-may contain a few, some or many of these acts of violence:



  • slapping
  • pushing
  • pinching
  • hitting
  • shoving
  • shaking
  • hair pulling
  • biting
  • burning
  • strangling
  • suffocating
  • stabbing
  • restraining victim
  • murder



  • rape
  • sexual assault
  • threats of rape or sexual assault
  • unwanted sexual touching or sexual coercion
  • lewd comments directed at victim’s body and sexuality, or performance of a sexual act to offend or humiliate her



  • abuser constantly criticizes the victim (how she looks, performs tasks, or her ability to be good wife or mother)
  • limits victim’s contact with friends and family
  • limits victim’s decision-making power for herself and children
  • continually monitors victim’s actions and whereabouts
  • insists the victim check in frequently throughout the day
  • threatens victim with physical or sexual harm
  • threatens victim with a gun, knife or other object
  • threatens to harm victim’s children or other family members or friends
  • threatens to take children away
  • abuses children (physically, sexually and/or psychologically)
  • threatens or harms pets 
  • extreme jealousy -- accuses victim of cheating with another partner
  • blames victim for things that go wrong, including the abuser’s own behavior
  • destroys property
  • locks victim in the house or threatens her if she leaves the house
  • threatens suicide or homicide
  • harasses or stalks victim once the relationship has ended
  • threatens to harm the victim if she leaves the relationship and enters another; “If I can’t have you nobody will,” or words to that effect.



  • abuser controls victim’s money or access to money
  • controls victim’s ability to work and earn money
  • threatens to get victim fired


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