When the Abuse isn’t Physical

A little while ago, I was on a date with a man who told me about his friends advice to “treat women like you’re Christian Grey.”

“Not at all true,” I told him, cringing.

“Really? I thought that was what every woman wanted!” Never mind the fact that different women want different things in a relationship. “What’s the problem with him?”

Oh, reader. This is why I have a problem with romanticized abuse. We are shown harmful and dangerous actions as something that is not only tolerated, but embraced. This leaves a false image of what courting should be.

Let me clarify that this is not an issue with the BDSM community. Whatever consensual activities you do in your bedroom is fine with me. No, the problem is the legitimate forms of abuse that many of us turn a blind eye to.

So let’s clear this up. Below, a number of different forms of abuse are briefly described. Domestic Abuse can include any of the following, but are not necessarily limited to just these.

Psychological/Emotional Abuse

Verbal Abuse
  • Verbal or nonverbal acts which may diminish a person’s sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.
  • Examples of this include: confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, and so on.

Spiritual Abuse

  • Using one’s religion for the purpose of manipulation.
  • Preventing one from practicing religious or spiritual beliefs.
  • Ridiculing or putting down one’s belief and culture.

Financial Abuse

Financial Abuse
  • Owning all financial decisions, forcing victims to be financially dependent on their partner.
  • May also include withholding physical resources such as food, clothes, medications, or even shelter.
  • May include preventing the victim from working.
  • This is a common tactic in making victims feel trapped in violent relationships.


  • Perpetrators may follow the victim, go to places that they frequently go to, text or call persistently, send unwanted mail, and so on.

Online/Digital Abuse

Technological Abuse
  • Using of technology to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner.
  • This may include excessive calling and texting to as a means to have control.
  • May include controlling passwords and social media accounts.
  • May involve GPS tracking the victim.
  • May involve sharing photos/videos without your consent.


Physical Abuse
  • This is the intentional use of physical force that may injure or harm the victim.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse
  • Forcing someone to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity.
  • Ridiculing another person to try to limit their sexuality or reproductive choices.
  • Forcing someone to take part in pornographic film-making.

The Point

Forms of domestic abuse range from verbal to physical, online to offline, and so on. It is important to know that these behaviors are not acceptable in any circumstances.

We need to take off any parading mask of acceptability here. Only then can we see the decline of perpetrators, and provide a light to the victims.

For those who are experiencing any of the above, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

Full Circle

Going back to the Fifty Shades of Grey storyline, how many forms of abuse do you count? Comment your thoughts below.

Originally published at Christina Voors.