Abuse is any kind of behaviour that threatens, scares or hurts someone. The abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional:
- Physical abuse — hurting or hitting someone, causing bruising, pain or injury
- Sexual abuse — tricking or forcing someone into some form of sex, including touching and sexual jokes and showing pornography
- Emotional abuse — using hurtful words to put someone down, make them feel threatened or afraid.
All types of abuse are harmful.
In an abusive relationship, one person uses fear or power to control another person’s health and wellbeing. The abusive person develops a pattern of behaviour. The controlling might be done physically, emotionally, socially, sexually, or spiritually such as putting down someone’s beliefs or culture.
An example of an abusive behaviour pattern is a cycle of violence — threatening someone, becoming violent, saying sorry, things being OK for a while - then this cycle repeats.
If you are wondering if you’re in an abusive relationship, think about how the other person makes you feel. If you are feeling tense/uneasy, confused or generally feel that something isn’t right, you might want to talk to someone about it. There are many services where you can chat anonymously on the phone.
A loving relationship should make you feel good about yourself. No one has the right to hurt you or put you down.
Useful phone numbers
- Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
- Sexual Assault Crisis Line: 1800 806 292
- Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service of Victoria: 1800 015 188