What is Abuse?

Healthy relationships involve respect, trust, and care for the other person. The first step out of abuse is to understand what abuse is and know that you have the right to be treated with respect and not be harmed by another person in any way.

10 Warning Signs of Abuse (PDF)

Abuse can be mistaken for strong feelings of caring or concern. Sometimes jealousy feels flattering or like someone really cares about you. Jealousy and controlling ways are not affection at all.

  • If you loved me/cared about me you would……
  • Blaming you for their abusive or unhealthy actions
  • Spreading rumors
  • Teasing or bullying
  • Using children or pets as collateral to make threats (ex. having children taken away)
  • Making threats of suicide or self harm if you leave them
  • Stalking (online or in person)
  • Gastlighting
  • Using names and put downs (ex. you’re not good enough, you’re not smart enough etc.)
  • Trying to control where you go, who your see or what you wear
  • Making threats of exposure of sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, health status etc. to control you
  • Embarrassing or humiliating you in public or online
  • Accusing you of cheating and jealousy
  • Any unwanted physical contact
  • Hitting, kicking, scratching, biting, grabbing, choking, holding
  • Spitting
  • Hair pulling
  • Throwing things at you
  • Grabbing your clothing
  • Use of a weapon of any kind on you or to threaten you
  • Destruction of property (breaking things, punching walls, slashing tires etc.)
  • Preventing you from leaving (locking the door, blocking the door)
  • Grabbing your face and bringing it close to theirs
  • Trapping you in a vehicle and driving unsafely or threatening to crash
  • Sexual assault
  • Confining you
  • Using threats to coerce you into sexual activity
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Image based sexual assault
  • Unwanted kissing, touching or sexual activity
  • Sexual contact with a person unable to provide consent (drugged or intoxicated)
  • Refusing to use sexual protection or birth control (with or without your knowledge)
  • Forced pregnancy
  • Forcing you to look at sexually explicit images when you do not want to
  • Sexual harassment
  • Making it hard for someone to go to worship
  • Stealing or destroying religious books
  • Making fun of how you practice your faith
  • Pressure or force on you to give up your faith or join their faith
  • Not allowing you to speak your language of choice
  • Not allowing you to see your friends or family
  • Forcing you to give up your preferred form of dress or adopt a different form of dress
  • Not allowing you to celebrate your culture by forbidding types of food, dress, song, dance or traditions
  • Racism
  • Insistence that you stop participating in community events at your local cultural centre
  • Uses money to control you or hold power over you
  • Does not allow you to work or prevents you from getting to work
  • Tries or succeeds in getting you fired from your job
  • Deposits your cheques in their accounts
  • Signs up for credit cards, loans or financing in your name without your permission
  • Refusal to provide you with money for necessities such as food, rent, clothing or health care
  • Places you on an allowance and monitors receipts and purchases very closely
  • Uses money from joint accounts or children’s accounts without your knowledge
  • Does not allow you to see bank records or statements
  • Demands online banking passwords
  • Homophobia, bi phobia and transphobia
  • Threatening to out you
  • Refusal to use your correct pronouns
  • Using your sexual orientation or gender identity to make threats or put you down (ex. no one will love you because you are …, etc.)
  • Threatening to withhold medical insurance or access to medical treatment that covers hormones and other treatments necessary for you to live authentically
  • Using your sexual orientation or gender identity to justify any form of abuse
  • Forbidding you from revealing or discussing that you are transgender or talking about transgender issues
  • Pressure on you to provide you passwords, or theft of your passwords
  • Use of tracking apps or listening apps (with or without your knowledge)
  • Use of social media to embarrass or humiliate you
  • Online stalking
  • Sends you harassing or hurtful messages
  • Incessantly texts you
  • Sends you unwanted explicit or sexual images and asks for them in return
  • Uses social media and other apps to keep tabs on you
  • Goes through your phone, emails or private messages

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship or is experiencing abuse, help is available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week for ALL people. Contact us at 403-934-6634 or 1-877-934-6634. 


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