How to identify abuse: #1 The “fear factor”. So the question has been asked: “How can we tell who is the abuser and who is the abused?” We know that 83% of the time (Stats. Canada), if abuse is being perpetrated in a relationship it is the man who is being abusive. But we also know that it is a common tactic for men who are abusive to say “she is abusive”. So how are we to know who is telling the truth? There are four key criteria for identifying abuse. The first is the “fear factor”. The victim of abuse will be fearful and will have reason to be fearful. Fear can be created in many ways. Here are common tactics that I hear from women. Their partners level devastating threats and show a willingness to follow through on the threats. Threats like “I will leave you financially destitute” or “I will get custody of the kids.” Also, for the most part, men are larger and physically stronger than their partners. If a man has shown that he is willing to use his physical strength to overcome, hurt or control a woman, that woman will be fearful. A common dynamic is that an abusive man will be physically abusive early on in the relationship. He pins the woman to the floor or punches her. He may never again hit his partner, but he may continue to control her in other ways – financially, socially etc. The man does not need to hit his partner again in order for her to be fearful. He has shown he is willing to use his physical strength against her. Come back tomorrow for number two of the criteria.