Please read the following questions carefully. This may be impacting you or someone you know.

  • Has someone with whom you are intimate with verbally or physically assaulted you?
  • Have you been in a situation where you are coerced into doing what you don’t want to do?
  • Have you been forced to give away your income to a family member, friend or associate?
  • Have you been bullied either verbally or physically by friends, associates, family members or an intimate partner?
  • Have you been in a situation where a partner or family member tries to put you down or isolate you from social relationships?
  • Are you in a situation where your partner or a family member monitors your every movement both online and offline?
  • Are you afraid of your partner or the person with whom you are close with?
  • Did these experiences cause you some form of physical and/or emotional pain?

If you have experienced any of these, you are most likely dealing with an abusive/violent situation.

The list may be endless, but these are common tell-tale situations that are signs of abuse or violence.

Abuse occurs when there is cruel, violent or unfair treatment of a person or animal in order to gain benefit over the person. Violence is an act of aggression against a person. Intimate partner violence involves use of physical, sexual and psychological means to inflict harm on a partner. For the purpose of this discussion, we shall use abuse interchangeably with violence. The usual underlying factor for abuse is control and power. The perpetrator, usually the abuser, will try to use any means possible to control the victim through either coercion, manipulation, threat or extortion et cetera.

Abuse/violence occurs in different relational situations; it can be between or among intimate partners, relatives, friends or associates. Abuse knows no age, creed, gender, size nor status. Abuse can involve a child, a woman, an elderly person, a man or even animals/pets. Violence may start out on a psychological or emotional level, but then progresses to physical in most cases.

Based on the above premise, abuse or violence as the term suggests does not only mean when someone is physically harmed. People can experience non-physical abuse in the form of emotional and psychological manipulation. A woman who is forced to hand over all the money she worked for to her husband or partner is experiencing abuse. A senior who is coerced by a family member to give away their pension money is facing abuse. A child who constantly witnesses violence in her home or environment is facing abuse. A man who is verbally abused or emotionally manipulated by his partner is facing an abuse. Abuse can occur in different types of relationships. It can be in heterosexual or homosexual relationships. It can also be between a child and parents or an elderly person and close family members or associates. People in abusive situations experience high levels of stress.

However, historically and statistically, women and girls have faced and continue to be most vulnerable to abuse/violence. According to Statistics Canada, 27% of all reported violent crime are victims of intimate partner violence. What is even more alarming is that nearly 80% of these are women. Women are not only vulnerable and victims to violence in intimate partner relationships, but also in general violent crimes committed, with over half (53%) of all police-reported violent crimes against women. This is just reported cases, as many cases still go unreported for many reasons which will be discussed in our subsequent blogs.

Intimate partner violence is also greatest among youth, with girls being most vulnerable and experiencing higher rates of violence compared to their male counterparts. Dating violence is highest among youth aged 20-24 at nearly 70% followed successively by those aged 25-29 at 57%. This shows that family violence is not just confined to a physical home, but also is occurring among youth who are in dating relationships.

Family violence does not just lead to physical and mental effect, but fatal incidents, with women and girls being the top victims. Between 2003 and 2013, Canadian police services reported that a staggering 78% of all homicide involving intimate partner violence were committed against female victims.

This is sad and the effect of all forms of violence can continue to have a cycle of negative behavioural outcome on victims.

We are here to help at ehcw. We offer counselling, settlement, referral and many more supports to help you escape or resolve an abusive situation. Remember that many have lost their lives by normalizing the behaviours of their abuser. Don’t be in that number.

By: Obioma Dike