What is Abuse?

The following content has been adapted from:

TRIGGER WARNING: Types of gender based violence and some specific examples of are listed below.

Gender Based Violence

What is gender based violence? This definition has broad implications and extends beyond rape or sexual assault. It refers to a variety of other more subtle or obvious forms of violence or unwarranted sexual contact.

We can define gender based violence in a variety of categories, many of which are listed below. If you have experienced gender based violence, you are not alone and help is available.

Physical Abuse

This includes threatening behaviour, intimidation and physical force of varying degrees or types. Hitting, cutting, punching, strangulation, shoving, pushing, burning, choking and use of weapons or items to cause harm are all examples of physical abuse.

Stalking and Harassment

Stalking and harassement behaviours can range in consistency and intensity and promote an underlying feeling that one personal privacy and safety is being compromised.

Examples of stalking and harassment behaviours are threats, persistent phone calls, following or stalking, hiring someone to stalk an individual, tracking one’s location and movements and internet or social media harassment (posting photos, information, comments to degrade the person).

Stalking and harassment includes using multiple platforms of communication like texting, e-mail, social media or mail to attempt contact that is unwarranted and unwanted.

Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence includes a lack of respect for physical boundaries, not respecting “no” or “stop”, manipulating or controlling the right to use birth control, pursuing sexual activity when you are not fully conscious or aware, forcing pornography (watching or participating) or causing physical harm without consent during sex.

If your boundaries are being ignored by a partner or acquaintance, this is a form of sexual abuse.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can take the form of humiliation, intimidation or threats (towards you, your family, your children or pets), name calling, attempting to make someone feel powerless, blaming, extreme jealousy or gaslighting (manipulating someone into questioning their own sanity or perspectives.)

Emotional abuse can be more subtle and occur over time, slowly making one feel belittled or powerless.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse can range from controlling money, withholding, misuse of money, preventing access to a job or school or ability to advance oneself. Anything that prevents autonomy over one’s ability to make decisions about resources or resource allocation.

Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse is using one’s personal belief system to dominate or control. This can be coercive or manipulative behaviour in a religious or non religious context, using one’s personal beliefs to control the other person.

More specific examples are; use of scripture or sacred texts to persuade, stating that the abuser has a “divine” position or knowledge or demanding obedience or submission.

Other forms of Abuse

Other forms of abuse can include:

  • Controlling reproductive choices, access to health services or controlling your physical well-being
  • Isolating a person from their social network, family or support systems, restricting access to resources for betterment or self care
  • Using fear, judgement, belittling and control to manipulate and dominate life choices
  • Controlling access to substances or medications, or forcing use.

**Not all types or examples of gender based are listed. Other examples more relevant to you can be discussed with the staff at the Transition House.

What to do next

If you are in an emergency situation, please call 9-1-1 for emergency services and immediate assistance.

If you have question about sexualized violence, want to explore your options or are curious about a stay at the Westcoast Transition House, please contact us:

Call the 24-hour support line: 250-726-2020
Call toll-free: 1-877-726-2080
Send a text message (SMS): 250-266-0187

Other WCRS Programs that Can Help

If you would like to talk in confidence with our Stopping the Violence Women’s Counsellor, please call 250-726-5269.

Other WCRS programs that you may be interested in are: