Are You Being Abused?
Are You Being Abused?
If you are being abused by someone you care about, it is important to know this:
It is not your fault,
You deserve to be treated with kindness and respect,
There is help available for you.
Anyone can experience domestic and family violence. It happens across all communities, ages, cultures and genders.
Intimate partner and family violence occur when someone who has a close personal relationship with you makes you feel afraid, powerless or unsafe. It can be physical, but it can also be emotional and/or psychological. Not all abusive relationships involve physical violence, but all physically violent relationships have an element of psychological and emotional abuse.
If you are in an abusive relationship, you will likely feel confused, shameful, powerless and you may blame yourself for the abuse you experience. All of these feelings are normal and natural. If someone is hurting you, or threatening to hurt you, it can be hard to maintain your self-confidence or feelings of self-worth and determination. The best thing you can do is talk to someone you trust or a professional about the abuse, so they can help you see the situation clearly and leave the cycle of violence.
Sexual, family and intimate partner violence (SFIPV) can happen to anyone.
There are some challenges within our community, such as internalised homophobia and minority stress, that can mean LGBTQ+ people may experience violence in different ways to other family dynamics or heterosexual relationships.
There are common feelings and effects of violence which can indicate that you may be in an abusive relationship with someone in your life. An abusive or violent relationship often makes you feel like you have no control, have feelings of constant anxiety and may include physical or sexual assault.
Questions to Identify Abuse
If you think you may be suffering from abuse, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I being made to do things that I am not comfortable with?
- Do I constantly feel like I am “walking on eggshells”?
- Is my life controlled by others?
- Is my sexuality and/or gender being made fun of?
- Have I been physically threatened or assaulted by someone I know?
- Is someone trying to make me change my sexuality and/or gender, or how I choose to affirm or show my sexuality or gender?
- Is my sexuality and/or affirmed gender being disclosed to people behind my back?
- Have I been touched in a sexually inappropriate way and without my consent?
- Is someone else controlling my finances and do I have a choice about what I spend my money on?
If you would like more questions to help you reflect on patterns of behaviour in your relationships, take our quiz here.
The signs of family and intimate partner violence can be subtle, and the line between whether you are in an unhealthy or an abusive relationship can be blurry. For example, sometimes an argument is just an argument that is normal for any relationship, but sometimes it is part of an abuser’s tactics to gain and maintain control. However, if you are asking yourself whether or not you’re in an abusive relationship, chances are something is not right. Talking to someone may help make things clearer. You can find services and get in touch with someone to help here.
Forms of Violence and Abuse
Anyone can be at the receiving end of abusive and violent behaviour. Similarly, anyone can be a user of violence and abuse. Below, we’ve outlined who may be involved in common forms of SFIPV and links for each to obtain a more thorough overview.
Intimate Partner Violence
- Intimate partner
- Someone in a casual relationship
Find more information on intimate partner violence here.
- Intimate partner
- Immediate and extended family or mob
- Chosen family
- Casual hook-up
Find more information on sexual violence here.
- Mob – family group, clan or wider First Nations community group
- Family friend
Find more information on family violence here.
Abuse of Older People
- Adult children
- Other family member
- Professional carer
Find more information about abuse of older people here.