You are here

Types of Violence

There are many types of violence. All of them are harmful and can “work together” to enforce power and control over the woman enduring abuse.

A Note on Rape Culture

The Government of Ontario’s Action Plan on to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment, released in 2015, defines the term “rape culture” is defined as “a culture in which dominant ideas, social practices, media images and societal institutions implicitly or explicitly condone sexual assault by normalizing or trivializing male sexual violence and by blaming survivors for their own abuse.”

  • Physical Violence: hitting, slapping, choking, punching, kicking, pushing, grabbing, throwing, burning, hair-pulling, twisting arms, tripping, confinement, use of weapons
  • Sexual Violence: Sexual assault (forced sexual activity), refusal to use protection from STIs or unwanted pregnancy, forced abortions, unwanted sexual touching, exposing to pornography without consent, sharing private photos without consent. Rape culture makes sexual violence seem “acceptable”  
  • Emotional or Psychological Violence: isolating her from others, creating fear, threatening to report her to authorities, manipulating her feel like she is “crazy”
  • Financial or Economic Violence: controlling access to finances and bank accounts, withholding money, denying the right to work, forcing her to do precarious work against her wishes
  • Forced Marriage: forcing women or girls into a marriage without their consent
  • Neglect: withholding food, care or medication, stopping verbal communication
  • Electronic Violence: cyberstalking or bullying, using electronic devices, phones or computers and social media to monitor or intimidate
  • Verbal Violence: yelling, swearing, using degrading language and put-downs
  • Spiritual Violence: denying access to spiritual or religious practices, mocking or degrading spiritual beliefs, forcing a belief system, manipulating belief systems to justify violence
  • Harassment or Stalking: Unwanted and persistent following, watching, and monitoring, invading privacy. This includes monitoring by siblings, extended family, and community members who “report back” to the abuser
  • Using Children: threats or actions to take children away or have them removed, threats or actual harm to children, using children to relay abusive messages or threats
  • Human Trafficking: recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving people by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, coercion, deception, or repeated provision of a controlled substance) for an illegal purpose, including sexual exploitation or forced labour

A Note on Human Trafficking & Forced Labour

If an immigrant, refugee, temporary foreign worker, or non-status woman is being abused through forced labour and human trafficking, the impacts may be different. The fear of deportation may be more intense and access to support services may be extremely limited or non-existent. The IRCNFF website has information about abuse or violence in the home or in relationship settings and this information may be useful in supporting women who are experiencing violence through forced labour. Human trafficking for sexual exploitation may require additional support including legal support.

These different types of violence can “work together” to make a situation more difficult to escape.

For example, an abuser may use physical violence a few times and then use verbal violence and threats to keep the woman he abusing under control from that point onwards. Economic violence may be used to keep her dependent on the abuser, with stalking and harassment preventing her from accessing outside support.

While every type of violence is serious, some types of violence such as choking or stalking may be warning signs of increased danger and risk. To learn more about signs of increased risk, click here.