Shine a light on violence against women

Day 5 - emotional violence

*Thanks to the UI Counseling Center for this information

Emotional abuse is any behaviour that is designed, and used, to control and overpower someone through the use of fear, humiliation and verbal assaults. Unlike physical abuse, the people doing it and receiving it may not even know it's happening.

day 5Emotional abuse can be likened to 'brain-washing' as it can wear away someone's self-confidence, self-worth and sense of self. Emotional abuse can create scars that are deeper and more lasting than physical ones.

Emotional abuse can include anything that impacts the mental health and well being of their partner. It can include:

  • name calling, insults, put downs
  • blaming the victim for everything
  • jealousy, unfounded accusations of cheating
  • intimidation
  • shaming, humiliation
  • socially isolating the victim from friends and family
  • getting angry if a victim does not immediately return calls
  • needing to know where the victim is at all times
  • following the victim without their knowledge
  • stalking

There are different types of emotional abuse:

These are the more aggressive forms of abuse including:

  • name calling
  • accusing
  • blaming
  • threatening and;
  • ordering

This form of abuse is usually direct and obvious. More indirect forms of this type of abuse can be disguised as 'helping' such as criticising, advising, offering solutions, analysing, probing and questioning another person.

This form of abuse seeks to distort or undermine a victims perceptions. Eg the abuser may insist "I never said that" or "I don't know what you're talking about." Withdrawal such as refusing to listen and communicate and emotionally withdrawing (eg the "silent treatment") is another type of emotional abuse.

With minimising, an abuser may not deny an event occurred, but question the victims reaction (eg "you're too sensitive" "you're blowing this out of proportion") to suggest that a victims reactions are wrong.

More information:

The campaign

Day 1 - Overview of violence against women

Day 2 - Who is at risk

Day 3 - Myths

Day 4 - Physical violence

Day 5 - Emotional abuse

Day 6 - Sexual violence

Day 7 - Financial abuse

Day 8  - Violence and technology

Day 9 - The signs of violence

Day 10 - Outcomes of violence

Day 11 - Surviving violence

Day 12 - How can you help?

Day 13 - Preventing violence

Day 14 - Violence and children

Day 15 - Violence and homelessness

Day 16 - Human rights

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