Forms of Violence


Verbal Violence

Verbal abuse is everything one can hear. Here are a few examples:

• To raise one’s voice to intimidate a partner

• To threaten

• To insult or abuse

• To blackmail

• To give orders



Psychological Violence

Psychological abuse is the use of attitude or words meant to be derogatory or humiliating. Examples include:

• Denigrating one’s intellectual abilities or looks

• Criticizing the way one raises children or cooks

• Making negative comments in public

• Commenting or complaining about one’s sexual performances

• Making one feel incompetent or useless

• Ignoring the partner


Psychological abuse is a subtle form of violence and is therefore more difficult to identify. It often starts with comments that seem harmless.



Physical Violence

Despite what everyone thinks, the partner does not always need to hit to be violent and exercise power.


Physical abuse is when there is a physical manifestation of violence, but not necessarily a contact between individuals. Examples include:

• Throwing objects at or close to the partner

• Blocking the way, pushing

• Squeezing the arms

• Punching of kicking objects

• Attempting to strangle



Economic Violence

Economic abuse is everything that is related to the control of money such as:

• Compelling the partner to pay for all essential needs

• Forcing the partner to become indebted

• Forbidding the partner to buy certain essential items

• Criticizing purchases made for the children

• Forcing the partner to steal or commit fraud

• Controlling the partner’s finances and income without consulting him/her


This form of abuse reduces the partner’s independence.



Social Violence

Social abuse mainly concerns the victim’s family and friends:

• Constantly putting down people important to the partner

• Continually criticizing the partner’s job, work place, or colleagues

• Denigrating the partner’s hobbies, activities or sports

• Forbidding the partner to have visitors, to talk to or see friends

• Forbidding contact with family members

• Controlling emails and phone calls

• Forcing the partner to quit school or forbidding the partner to work


Once again, this form of violence develops gradually. Little by little, the victim finds herself/himself alone and isolated.



Sexual Violence

Sexual abuse is more difficult to talk about because sexuality refers to a couple’s intimacy and is still considered, by many, a “marital duty”.  It can also be embarrassing for a victim to explain what she/he had to endure or perform during sexual intercourse.


Sexual abuse can sometimes be:

• Insulting the partner during intercourse

• Humiliating or intimidating the partner by comparing his/her body to others’

• Forcing the partner to wear clothes or accessories associated with pornography

• Forcing the partner to watch pornography or to imitate pornographic films

• Hitting or biting during the sexual act

• Forcing a partner to have sexual relations or to perform certain sexual acts is considered sexual abuse. Yes, there can be sexual abuse within a couple.





Adapted from


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