Types of Domestic Abuse

 Nurtured-Not-Tortured: Types of Domestic Abuse
Abuse is a broad topic however the scope of this cause is in Domestic Abuse in intimate relationships; that is in marriage or dating between current or former spouses/partners. I will use the words 'spouse' or 'partner' interchangeably to represent the couple.

I have had many conversations with men and women of various orientation, social status, age and religion with regards to their understanding of domestic violence or domestic abuse. Nine out of ten people understand domestic abuse to be only physical abuse where the abusive partner physically hurts the victim. Some understand it to be ..''women's issue'' or ''issue with women''. Some said..''it's when a husband or wife beat each other in marriage''. I believe these types of responses are not a complete surprise to many of us. But the reality is domestic abuse is not a ''woman's issue'', it's rather a ''People Issue''. It's a global social issue that affects men, women and children regardless of age, social status, cultural, traditional or religious beliefs.

This limitation of understanding the types of domestic abuse is one of the many reasons it's perceived as a private issue. It's also perceived as a sensitive issue because sadly, many people have lost their lives in the process. Many people hesitate or completely avoid publicly engaging in conversations relating to domestic abuse for fear of being judged or condemned for their opinions. Many people justify it by often blaming the victim, some overlook it because they've accepted it as a norm but many people underestimate the impact of domestic abuse not only on all parties involved but on the society as a whole.

Domestic abuse can be described as any incident or pattern of incidents of coercive controlling and violent behaviour, including sexual violence perpetrated by a current or ex-partner in an intimate relationship or amongst family members.


Involves all forms of hitting, slapping, kicking, shoving, biting, pinching, strangulation. Some victims experience having objects thrown at them or dangerous chemicals or liquids or food poured on or thrown at them by the abusive spouse/partner.

Domestic abuse occurs in various forms and degrees but it is not limited to physical abuse. Physical abuse is usually the aftermath of all other forms of abuse.


This involves being forced or coerced into participating in sexual activities against one’s will. It includes forced sex/rape, molestation, being forced to participate in pornography or demonic sexual activities. It also includes sexual abuse of children in domestic environment


Financial abuse occurs when the abuser exerts power and control over finances/money. The abusive spouse limits or denies the other spouse access to money/funds. This means the victim will have to request for money from the abusive partner all the time. This happens when the abusive partner does not allow the victim to spend money on themselves or the children without expressed or written permission; some make the spouse to account for every penny spent by demanding receipts for even trivia things.
It also includes preventing/stopping the victim from working or getting a job against their will to prevent them from being financially independent.
The abuser could also take control of the spouse’s bank account/salary against their will.
Running up debts in the spouse’s name mostly done without their knowledge. Debts could be loans, unpaid bills, credit card debts. The abusive partner could also be financially reckless, spending beyond the family's income, purchasing expensive items that are not necessarily needed to create a false image. The abusive spouse makes all financial decisions without consultation with the other spouse or completely ignores the other spouse's opinion if sought at all


Verbal abuse involves deliberate degrading statements from the abusive partner, insults, name- calling, constant blaming, consistent complaints, negative criticism, false accusations, deliberate yelling/shouting to inflict pain on the victim


Psychological or mental abuse is completely non-physical, VERY common and extremely difficult to recognise not only by the victim but by any third party. Many people that experience this form of abuse find it difficult to express or articulate their experience(s). Psychological abuse might not be recognised by a one-off incident. It could take series or patterns of repeated incidents for a victim to eventually realise they're being psychologically abused. This is one of the reasons many victims of abuse find it difficult to speak out or seek help as it could go unnoticed for a long period of time. It can leave the victims feeling isolated, gradually losing confidence that eventually erodes their self-esteem.

Psychological abuse involves isolation, coercive control, malice, stonewalling, manipulation, gaslighting, deception, intimidation, bullying, harassment or stalking. Some elements of verbal abuse could also be included where the abuser says things like..''you're nothing without me'' and often accompanied by blaming the victim for the abuse.

It also includes infidelity/adultery, jealousy, domestic imprisonment, neglect, abandonment, belittling and discounting which means ignoring or failing to acknowledge the other spouse’s opinion or feelings, the abuser leaving the home and failing to communicate their whereabouts


This type of abuse is not always mentioned under domestic abuse and is often administered under the guise of religion in marriages. It is experienced as a form of verbal or psychological abuse where the abusive partner maliciously manipulates scriptures to justify their abusive behaviour. For instance, the abusive partner may threaten the victim by quoting scriptural verses like ''God hates divorce'', therefore leaving the victim feeling helpless and stuck with the abuser or quoting that ''a wife must submit to their husbands'' in a way to humiliate or harass the victim, ''a wise woman builds her home'' - used to intimidate the victim for not measuring up to the abuser's ever changing demands or yelling that the ''apostles in the scriptures had many wives'' often used to justify adultery or demanding the victim must ''forgive and forget'' an abusive event without any form of remorse from the abuser


Digital abuse occurs where any type of digital platform or technical device is being used to monitor and control the victim. It could be perpetrated via social media platforms, mobile phone and other web platforms are consistently being used to aid abusive behaviours. Digital abuse occurs where:

-  The abuser installs tracking devices on your phone, computer, tablets or car without your consent
- CCTV devices are installed in the home without your consent and not for safety reasons
- The abuser (current or ex) shares intimate pictures or videos without your consent
- The abuser posts malicious or misleading information about your relationship on social media
- The abuser threatens you directly or indirectly through someone you know by text or message/post on social media
- The abusive partner monitors or controls your social media posts or account
- The abuser stalks you on social media


Many professional Psychologists use Psychological, Emotional and Mental abuse interchangeably. In my opinion, I consider ALL these types of domestic abuse emotional abuse whether it's Physical, Sexual, Financial, Psychological, Spiritual or Digital because regardless of which type of abuse one experiences, it affects your emotions negatively and could result into severe medical and mental health issues such as psychological trauma, stress, anxiety or depression.

The harsh reality is that, by the time someone experiences physical abuse, they would have experienced some or all of these other types of abuse.

If you're a victim/target of abuse and you can relate with many or all of these types of abusive behaviour please understand that:

1. It's NOT YOUR fault the abuse is happening. It's a typical abusers' tactic to blame their target/victim for the abuse

2. There's NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. Perhaps you've realised something is not right with the relationship but you've managed to convince yourself it's just your imagination or that your mind is playing tricks on you, but NO your mind is not playing tricks, something is definitely wrong

3. It's NEVER too late to get help. No matter how long the abuse has been going on for, it's never too late to get help.

Be encouraged to speak out. Break the silence and don't keep it all to yourself. Speak with a counsellor, therapist or a trusted family member or friend about your experience in order to get the necessary help you need

Please kindly reach out to get help. Click for Emergency Contacts

YOUR SAFETY SHOULD ALWAYS BE A PRIORITY. Ensure you are in a safe place before making the call.

Thank you for visiting, please leave your comments. I will appreciate your constructive feedback. Feel free to share useful information with your loved ones and use the hashtag #NurturedNotTortured to show your support for Domestic Violence related causes.

With Love,