Am I being abused?

Physical Abuse
Physical abuse includes unwanted physical contact, which may or may not cause an injury. Physical abuse can be directed at you, your children, household pets or others. Has your partner ever:
_____ pushed, shoved or kicked you
_____ held you down to keep you from leaving
_____ slapped, hit or punched you
_____ bit, stabbed, burned or choked you
_____ thrown objects at you
_____ locked you out of the house
_____ abandoned you in dangerous places
_____ refused to help when you were sick, injured or pregnant
_____ tried to hit or force you off the road with a car
_____ threatened or hurt you with a weapon

Sexual Abuse
Degrading treatment based on your sex or sexual orientation; using force or coercion to obtain sex or perform sexual acts. Has your partner ever:
_____ made jokes or crude remarks about you or other women
_____ treated women as sex objects
_____ jealousy; accusing you of affairs
_____ forced you to dress a particular way
_____ put down your feelings about sex
_____ criticized you sexually
_____ insisted on sexual contact or touching
_____ withheld sex and affection
_____ called you sexual names, like “whore” or “frigid”
_____ forced you to strip
_____ shown sexual interest in others
_____ had affairs with others while agreeing to monogamy
_____ demands monogamy from you, while insisting on freedom for self
_____ forced sex with him/her or others
_____ forced sex after beating or threatening beating

Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is mistreating and controlling another person. The emotional abuser makes their partner feel afraid, helpless and/or worthless. Has or does your partner ever:
_____ ignored your feelings
_____ ridiculed or insulted your valued beliefs, religion, race etc.
_____ withhold appreciation, approval or affection as punishment
_____ continually criticize, calling you names or shouting at you
_____ insult or drive away friends/family
_____ humiliate you in public or private
_____ lied or withheld important information
_____ always checks up on you
_____ treat you like a child or servant
_____ threaten to leave you continually
_____ abused pets to hurt or scare you
_____ made you feel worthless, never good enough
_____ dislike your friends/family or how you do just about anything

Intimidation and Threats
The primary function of intimidation and threats is to instill fear and insure compliance. Has or does your partner:
_____ put you in fear through looks, gestures or actions
_____ smashed things
_____ destroyed things of value to you
_____ injured or killed pets to frighten you
_____ threatened to hurt/kill someone you love
_____ displayed weapons in a threatening way
_____ cleaned weapons immediately after or during a threatening argument
_____ threatened to leave you or commit suicide
_____ made you commit illegal acts
_____ threatened to report illegal acts or report you to welfare or child abuse investigators
_____ said he’ll/she’ll never let you leave him

Isolation
Isolation can be devastating. It prevents battered women from accessing support or resources. In addition, batterers through abusive tactics will turn family and friends against their partner.
Has your partner ever:
_____ started fights whenever you want to go out or spend time with friends
_____ put your family/friends down
_____ made you feel guilty when you spend time away from him/her
_____ although it is not said directly, you always feel like you must ask before going out
_____ refused to care for the children as you are preparing to leave
_____ made you account for every moment of the time you are gone — who you are with, where you went, who you saw, what you did, etc.
_____ made you late for work so many times, you lose your job
_____ accused you of having affairs
_____ monitors your use of the car
_____ taken the phone or car keys when he/she leaves
_____ locked you in a room when he/she leaves

Using the Children
Threatening or hurting someone we love is a tactic to insure compliance. Batterers know that many victims are willing to suffer much to protect their loved ones. Has or does your partner:
_____ threaten to kidnap or kill the children
_____ punished or deprive the children when mad at you
_____ call you a bad parent
_____ use visitation to harass you
_____ tell the children “I’m going to jail because Mommy is mad at me”
_____ refuse to participate in the care of the children
_____ use the children to make you feel guilty
_____ threaten to sexually abuse the children if you won’t have sex

Economic Abuse
Controlling a battered woman’s access to financial resources can directly affect her ability to be independent of the batterer. Has or does your partner:
_____ control access to household money, you don’t know how much or where it is
_____ make all the financial decisions
_____ if you are responsible for the household budget you have to account for every dime and are punished if there isn’t “enough”
_____ take your paycheck or sell your belongings to get extra money
_____ prevent you from getting or keeping a job

Minimization, Denial and Blame
Minimization, denial and blame undermines the credibility and reality of battered women. By making light of, denying responsibility for, or blaming the victim for their actions, the batterer creates an environment in which the victims feelings, thoughts or needs are ignored and devalued. Has or does your partner:
_____ say he/she wouldn’t hit you if you hadn’t made him/ her angry
_____ say the abuse never happened or that it was no big deal
_____ say you deserve it

Control through Overprotection and “Caring”
Some batterers will use concepts like caring for or protecting as a means to control another. The emphasis here is on the intention of the action – will there be consequences if you don’t go along with his “kindness”
_____ he/she doesn’t like it if you are away from home, he/she worries and wants to know where you are all the time
_____ he/she phones or unexpectedly shows up where you work to see if you’re “ok”
_____ he/she shops or runs errands so you don’t have to go out
_____ he/she drives you to and from places so no one will get “ideas”

Using Societal Privilege
In our society, many of us carry value based on our status. Some examples include being male, wealthy, heterosexual or white-skinned.
Has your male partner ever:
_____ treated you like a servant
_____ made all the “big” decisions, telling you what to do
_____ acted like the “master of the castle,” using that to justify abusive behaviors

Has your female partner ever:
_____ used heterosexism or homophobia to put you in fear
_____ threatened to “out” you to family or coworkers
_____ say you aren’t a “real” lesbian
_____ threatened to tell your children or former male partner that you are in a relationship with a woman

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