24/7 provincial toll-free crisis line 18779770007

  • Manitoba Association of Women's Shelters

MAWS provides information only. If you are in danger call 911. If you or someone you know is being abused, call the confidential 24/7 provincial toll-free crisis line at: 1-877-977-0007

What is Abuse

Types of violence and abuse that can be experienced by women and men include what is listed below but most survivors experience more than one type of abuse.  Violence and abuse may occur only once, it can involve tactics of subtle manipulation or it may occur frequently while escalating over a period of months or years. In any form, violence and abuse profoundly affects individual’s health and well-being.  It also affects the children, modelling bad behaviour is a method of teaching children how to become abusive.

People can also become blind to abuse.  It can happened within a family group so often that it is no longer viewed as abuse but it’s still abuse.  Shelter workers have been told “I wasn’t abused, he always yells at me”, this is an example of  victims who have stop seeing the abuse for what it is.

Emotional / Psychological abuse
o Verbal abuse
o Stalking / harassment / bullying
o Spiritual abuse
Physical abuse
Sexual abuse
Financial abuse
o Neglect
Cultural abuse
Gaslighting
Honour Based Violence

Emotional / Psychological Abuse
Involves behaviour that negatively impacts mental health and social relationships. It affects the emotional balance of the victim to the extent that it damages the women’s self-esteem and confidence so that she is more easily controlled. Emotional abuse is often missed by the victim, they may have been raised with it and see if as “normal” behaviour. It can involve coercive, manipulating, criticism, intimidation, isolation (blaming, shaming and name calling) it can be subtle or blatantly obvious to observers.  Emotional abuse allows the establishment of power and control over the victim over time. The harm from emotional abuse can be quite severe and difficult to heal.

Physical Abuse
Non accidental physical force with the intent to cause harm to force compliance. Signs of physical abuse, usually heal but the emotional effects of physical abuse are much harder to heal.

Sexual Abuse
Is one the most intrusive and destructive forms of abuse and includes aspects of all other kinds of abuse. Sexual abuse can be violent, but in many cases sexual abuse is committed using manipulation, coercion, threats and/or exploitation.

Women may believe that if they are in a relationship and have already consented to have sex with that person, then that person has the right to have sex whenever he wants. However, sexual abuse is any sexual encounter without the consent of both partners, with mutual agreement on the sexual activities.

Financial Abuse
Is limiting the ability of the victim to access necessities to maintain a healthy life, including a safe place to live, food, water, medications, glasses, personal hygiene etc. the results make the victim dependent and limit her choices and ability to make independent decisions.

Cultural Abuse
Cultural violence occurs when a person is harmed as a result of practices that are part of her or his culture, religion or tradition. Could include honour crimes committed due to; infidelity, seeking divorce, being raped, practicing witchcraft and even being older.

Gaslighting
A type of emotional and psychological abuse in which an abuser convinces his or her victim that the abuse he or she is remembering didn’t actually occur, or wasn’t nearly as severe as the survivor remembers.

  • Withholding – abuser pretends he or she doesn’t understand what you said or simply refuses to listen, shutting you down when you try to confront him or her about abusive behavior.
    Countering – abuser tell client that she isn’t remembering things correctly, even when they are sure they know what happened?
  • Diversion – abuser keeps changing the subject if confronted about their abusive tactics, or blocks client from even talking about it in the first place, such as by saying, “Let’s talk about that later,” or “You know your memory isn’t the best.”
  • Trivializing – abuser might tell client they are “too sensitive” or raise a skeptical eyebrow when she tries to complain about his behavior, maybe asking you why she would get upset over “something so dumb.”
  • Forgetting – abuser seems to constantly forget the sequence of events that occurred. Consistently says things like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” or “That never happened.”

Honour Based Violence
Fear of or actual forced marriage, controlling sexual activity, false imprisonment, forced abortion, and death.