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Are you being hurt by your partner but don’t think it is “abuse”?

Many women find it hard to imagine that their partners are abusing them. Part of the struggle has to do with the negative stereotype our society has of ‘battered women’ and ‘abusive men’. If neither you nor your partner fit the stereotype, it may be difficult to imagine that you’re actually being abused.

Women who are being abused by their partners are like any other women. Some are professionals, some are homemakers, some are wealthy, some are poor. Women who experience abuse come from all racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds. In the same way, abusive men don’t usually fit the stereotype. The stereotype is of men who are monstrous and volatile. It does not reflect that these men are often affectionate, charming and sociable. Some men even appear to be progressive in their attitudes about women.

The stereotype of an ‘abused woman’ may prevent women from being able to describe or identify their experiences. You may have struggled between your experience of abuse and the negative stereotype of an ‘abused woman’. We encourage you set the stereotype aside and pay attention to your experiences. Continue to read this website and see what fits for you and what doesn’t. Take what is useful and leave the rest. If you are reading this blog, it is probably because you or someone you care about is being abused. That’s a really hard thing and you need and deserve all the helpful support and information you can get.


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  1. He always used to say all couples argued in the same manner and that only physical violence could be labelled as abuse. Even when he was shaking his fist a few inches from my face he still thought he wasn’t really being abusive. I remember once when his teenage son was there and saw him punch a door (which broke); later on, his son didn’t get why I was upset; he asked if I’d rather it was me instead of the door. They were both laughing as if it was nothing. That day I got over the incident as usual; I still can’t believe I mentally inhabited that crazy world where such thinking is normal.

  2. Thank you for sharing! A lot of abusive men never hit their partners but physically threaten in lots of ways like you have suggested. Whether he hit the door or hit you would both be traumatizing for you and they are both examples of physical abuse. Hitting the door says to you “I might hit you next time.” Karen.

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