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Patterns of Abuse

Psychological Abuse

  • Makes jokes that demean women
  • Makes insults about victim
  • Rigid gender role requirements
  • Calling names-stupid, in competent, ugly
  • Yells at victim
  • Ignores her ideas or feelings
  • Jealousy, accusations of cheating
  • Threats: destruction of her property, take kids if she attempts divorce
  • His paranoia – guns in house, anger at society
  • Isolation from friends; family controls phone, no access to car
  • Labels victim: crazy, bitch, whore
  • Sleep deprivation: relationship by now is based on his needs and her fear and guilt
  • Blames victim for violence, hurts kids, blames her
  • Unpredictable violence, hurting or killing pets
  • Threatens to kidnap or kill kids and her
  • “You’ll never get away from me.”
  • Questions her sense of reality
  • Victim’s self esteem is destroyed

Physical Abuse

  • Pinching, squeezing, hair pulling, and/or arm twisting
  • Pushing, shoving, grabbing and/or restraining
  • Throwing things
  • Standing in the doorway, blocking exits
  • Series of hits/kicks and/or beatings
  • Target hitting: landing blows so injuries won’t show or in same place repeatedly
  • Slapping, hitting, kicking, and/or punching
  • Causing visible injuries
  • Throwing victim
  • Burning – hot drinks, food and etc.
  • Causing broken bones
  • Using objects as weapons: phone, clubs
  • Using conventional weapons
  • Strangling, smothering, cutting off victim’s air
  • Back injuries, paralysis, internal injuries, use of guns, knives, whips
  • Causes permanent or disfiguring injuries
  • Murder

Sexual Abuse

  • Shows jealousy
  • Makes sexual jokes about women
  • Accuses victim of being a whore if she enjoys sex
  • Forces sex after violence, “Please forgive me.”
  • Abuser is intentionally promiscuous with others
  • Forces victim to witness his sexual acts with others
  • Forces (by violence or threats) sex acts – oral, anal, third party, etc.
  • Woman humiliated, sold to friends, tied, etc
  • Looks at women as sex objects
  • Sexually abuses her children
  • More severe forms of violence with sex – threats, beating before or during sex
  • Sex withheld to punish her
  • Sex expected as a duty
  • Treats victim like a sexual object with no concern for her feelings or desires
  • Woman has no control of her body or her space

Social Abuse

  • Society reinforces the “role” of the woman
  • Put-down of women, sexism
  • Others believe his side.  Tell her to try harder or it is her duty to suffer.
  • Others blame victim:  family, minister, professionals or police.
  • Victim’s self esteem is destroyed
  • Others blame her, call her crazy, masochist
  • Isolation reinforced:  police, friends, family ignore clues
  • He puts down her history, culture, heritage
  • Law fosters her dependency on a man
  • Repeatedly moves/ relocates without regard to “dependents” 
  • Society blames mother for ills of family
  • Woman medicated or hospitalized as a result of psychological abuse
  • Medication manipulated to control her
  • Hospital takes lies about bruises at face value
  • Most of society believes it is a private matter


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