There are various types of relationship abuse, but all are used to give one partner power and control over another partner.
One of the most recognized forms of intimate partner violence, physical abuse involves using force against the victim or causing injury. This can range from slapping, punching, and kicking to forcing drug use, strangling/ “choking” or shooting. Injuries can range from hidden or minimal to severe or death.
Another common form of intimate partner violence, sexual abuse includes any behavior performed on or by the victim without full consent and includes rape, sexual assault or harassment, unwelcome touching, human trafficking and demeaning sexual behaviors. Reproductive coercion is also a form of sexual abuse in which victims may be coerced or tricked into not using or using contraception, getting pregnant or having an abortion.
This form of abuse involves harming the individual’s sense of safety and self-worth by constant insults, blame, criticism and humiliation. This form of abuse is typically under-identified by victims but can have significant mental and physical health effects.
Also known as financial abuse, economic abuse is a way of controlling the victim through restricting economic resources and can include controlling the family’s income, keeping financial secrets and hidden accounts, putting the victim on an allowance and causing the victim to lose a job or not take a job.
This form of abuse can also be called digital abuse and has become more prevalent as people use electronic devices more. While this form of abuse can affect people of all ages, it is very common among teenagers who use technology and social media without parental monitoring. Digital abuse uses technology or social media to bully, harass, stalk, monitor or intimidate a partner.
An abuser may control or harm a partner through limiting access to health care, essential medicines or equipment. An abusive partner also can use a partner’s diagnosis against them. In some cases, partners threaten to “out” sensitive health information. In other instances, particularly if the victim has a mental health diagnosis, the partner may try to isolate the victim and make others believe that the victim is “crazy” and fabricating the abuse.