There are five types of abuse; verbal, emotional, physical, sexual and economic. When people think of abuse, they often picture battered women who have been physically assaulted. But not all abusive relationships have to be violent. Just because you don't have bruises or scars doesn't mean you aren't being abused. Many women suffer from sexual as well as emotional abuse which is often minimized or even overlooked - even by the person being abused. However, like physical abuse, the scars of emotional abuse are very real.

Victims of dating violence may experience a wide range of emotional responses to this abuse. They may feel shame and embarrassment, which may prohibit them from seeking help. They often experience extreme levels of stress, fear, anxiety, and depression. Many believe their abusers when they say that it's "their fault," and wind up experiencing self-blame and guilt. Still more victims often lack the self-esteem to realize that they deserve a healthier relationship; they stay because they feel they can't do any better.

Read more at Suite101: Teen Dating Violence: Warning Signs for Abusive Relationships

Can you or someone you know identify any of these types of abuse?


Being threatened by a partner verbally, causing her to question her sense of self-worth. You might feel there is no way out of the relationship or that without your partner you have nothing.

  • Threats
  • Insults/Nasty Comments
  • Tells you how to act, what to say, what to do or what to wear
  • Name calling
  • Constant criticism
  • Yelling/Screaming
  • Humiliating Jokes
Physical Abuse

Physical abuse does NOT have to leave a bruise or break a bone. Any unwanted physical contact that usually inflicts harm designed to instill fear in you or endanger you is abuse.

  • Slapping
  • Punching
  • Pushing
  • Shoving
  • Kicking
  • Spitting
  • Grabbing
  • Choking
  • Pinching
  • Burning
  • Destroys your personal property
  • Doesn't allow you to leave
Emotional Abuse

Being threatened by a partner emotionally, causing her to question her sense of self-worth. You might feel there is no way out of the relationship or that without your partner you have nothing.

  • Jealousy or possessiveness
  • Isolation from friends or family
  • Mind Games
  • Blames you for their behavior
  • Threatens to commit suicide or harm family members
  • Puts down your accomplishments
  • Ignores feelings or beliefs
  • Constantly checks up on you
Sexual Abuse

Any situation in which you are forced to have sex, or perform sexual acts against your will with a partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence. Sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse.

  • Uses force to have sex; possibly even rape.
  • Harasses, threatens or constantly pressures you to look at porn.
  • Pressures you to engage in sexual acts with which you are not comfortable
  • Compares you to past sexual partners.
  • Make jokes about sexual performance.
  • Constantly accusing you of cheating.
  • Has you engaged in sex texting.

Economic abuse may involve withholding money from you, spending your money without your consent, and preventing you from getting a job or preventing you from keeping a job as means of exerting control.

It is still abuse...


You have the right to a violence free relationships. No matter what your partner says the abuse is NOT your fault.

Important Information

  • Abusive behavior and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to control you.

  • Abusers are able to control their behavior.

  • Abusers often choose whom to abuse.

  • Abusers carefully choose when and where to abuse.

  • Abusers are able to stop their abusive behavior when it benefits them.

  • Violent abusers usually direct their blows where they won't show.