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What is abuse?

What is abuse?

What is abuse?

Abuse in the home is also called domestic or family violence. It’s when someone is hurting you or treating you badly. The person hurting you could be your husband or partner, your parent or child or another family member. The abuser could also be your carer or someone who shares your house. Any woman, at any age, can experience abuse.

Abuse is not always physical. You may be hurt in other ways. There are different forms of abuse.

Emotional abuse can hurt your mind and your feelings.

It includes when someone:

  • constantly tells you that you can’t do anything right, that you are stupid
  • tells you no one else in world could love you.
  • tells you that no one will let you keep your children if you leave

At first he cooked and pretended that he was being nice. Eventually though I believed that I couldn’t cook for myself because I would “stuff it up”…

Read more from “A story about ME”

He made me feel without my name on the house title I was a boarder, our son was a boarder. We weren’t allowed to do want we wanted. We weren’t allowed to have cushions on the couch we had to ask permission..

Read more from Molly’s story

Social abuse can hurt all your relationships

It can include when someone:

  • stops you from seeing your friends, family and support workers
  • makes you feel guilty about going to work or joining a club
  • demands to know where you are all the time

When we were together he was very strict about who I went with. I couldn’t easily go out with other people, girls or guys, I had no life. I felt I was a prisoner in my own home…

Read more from Isabella’s story

Social abuse can also include making it difficult for you to talk to other people.

‘We have had TTY at home for 10 years but it has never been hooked up. My carers don’t have the necessary communication skills – they can’t sign. My husband wants to be the only one who can communicate with the carers’…

Read more from Mary’s story

Financial abuse is when someone takes control of your money when you don’t want them to, or stops you from having any money.

‘My husband owns his own home. It’s in his name only. He wants it that way so he has control’…

Read Molly’s story

Sexual abuse is when someone makes you do sexual things that you don’t want to do. Forcing you to have sex is a crime, even if you are married.

My husband’s only focus was on sex and this was a big issue for me. I would be asleep and he would just jump on top of me. I could never have talked to him about how I felt, he would just start abusing me, he would put me down. Back then I was very quiet, I wouldn’t have said ‘Boo’ to a goose, I was his puppet’…

Read ‘My journey’

Physical abuse includes pushing, hitting, throwing things, or threatening to hurt you, your children, family, pets or guide dog.

‘My husband was physically violent towards the dog which hurt me because I love animals more than most humans I think’…

Read Molly’s story

‘He threatened me with a gun but the last straw was when he held me by my throat’….

Read ‘My journey’

Read more

Take the warning signs of abuse quiz to find out if there are signs that you are not being treated right

To see pictures that show what domestic violence is like, see the Looking After Me kit for women with intellectual disabilities by the Penrith Women’s Health Centre (NSW).