There are many different types of abuse. Physical assault, emotional manipulation, sexual assault, neglect, intentional isolation, verbal attacks, harassment, and financial coercion can all be considered abusive behaviors. Abuse often happens in close relationships, such as with significant others, family members, or close friends. Sexual assault can happen between acquaintances, but other types of abuse often require prolonged contact. While you may only think of abuse as physical or sexual, verbal and emotional abuse are also common. For example, persistent anger and aggression can be considered verbally and emotionally abusive behavior.
Spotting abuse can be tricky, because people in abusive relationships often feel ashamed and may not want to leave their partners. Things like dishonesty, controlling behavior, paranoia, or excessive jealousy can be warning signs of an abusive relationship. Abuse is never the fault of the person being abused, and many people have complex reasons for not being able to leave an abusive relationship. If you’re in an abusive relationship or suspect you might be, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 for free and anonymous help.
Intimate partner abuse includes sexual assault, but this form of abuse and other abuse doesn’t only occur between intimate partners. Another common case is child abuse. There are many different warning signs to watch for in children and young adults you suspect may be victims of abuse.