What is Abuse?

Not all women know how to recognise that they are being abused and below is an explanation which might help you decide:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional.”

“This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.”

The government definition also states:

  • Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim

  • Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour


In the modern world, power and control play a big part in abusing others.

So how does this show itself?  Let’s examine some of the ways in which this can happen:


SOCIAL MEDIA – a powerful communication tool but also a threat to privacy.  Sharing something privately with someone you trust might be OK, but what if you if you don’t know them well enough or you are encouraged to share something you are not comfortable with?  Remember anything you share that appears on any internet based or social media site can be shared with the world.

THINK before you share something that you are not comfortable with everyone on the planet viewing.

The right to say NO – what does this mean?   Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have gone along to please others?  Maybe you are fearful that you won’t be included in future.  Against your better judgement you have maybe drunk too much alcohol or taken illegal substances?

These actions leave people vulnerable to co-ertion and persuasion by others to do things that normally they wouldn’t do.

REMEMBER you always have the right to say NO.

BULLYING & VIOLENCE – sadly, very much like the Suffragettes of the past, bullying is commonplace in the 21st Century – it too is about power and control.

There are many different types of bullying that can be experienced by children and adults alike, some are obvious to spot while others can be more subtle.   Let’s look at some of the different types of bullying:

Physical bullying  –  hitting, kicking, tripping, spitting, pinching and pushing or damaging property. Physical bullying causes both short term and long term damage.

Verbal bullying –  name calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse. While verbal bullying can start off harmless, it can escalate very quickly into something more serious.

Social bullying –  this is often harder to spot and can be carried out behind the bullied person’s back. It is designed to harm someone’s social reputation and cause humiliation. Social bullying includes:

  • lying and spreading rumours

  • negative facial or physical gestures, menacing or contemptuous looks

  • playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate

  • mimicking unkindly

  • encouraging others to socially exclude someone

  • damaging someone’s social reputation or social acceptance.

Cyber bullying – this can be overt or covert bullying behaviours using digital technologies, including computers and smartphones, and software such as social media, instant messaging, texts, websites and other online platforms. Cyber bullying can happen at any time. It can be in public or in private and sometimes only known to the target and the person bullying. Cyber bullying can include:

  • Abusive or hurtful texts emails or posts, images or videos

  • Deliberately excluding others online

  • Nasty gossip or rumours

  • Imitating others online or using their log-in

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