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Woman abuse (domestic violence)

Woman abuse—or domestic violence—can affect anybody, regardless of race, gender, ability, class, age, education, employment or marital status. It is a pattern of behaviour in which one partner controls the other person in the relationship. More women than men are abused in domestic violence situations. This abuse may be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial.

In Ottawa, the Ottawa Police Service responded to 1,372 domestic violence calls in 2007 in which someone was charged. Ottawa has seven women’s shelters, and their clients come from many different backgrounds.

Here are some myths and facts you need to know:

1. MYTH:  Men are just as likely to experience domestic violence.
FACT:  Men are much more likely than women to commit domestic violence. Men are also more likely to repeat the abuse over a longer period of time and cause more physical harm.  

2. MYTH:  Drugs or alcohol make him violent.
FACT: Some abusers will only hurt their partners when they’ve been drinking or doing drugs. Alcohol and drugs can provide an easy excuse, but this is not the cause of violence. An abuser will often try to minimize the violence or deny responsibility for it, but violence is a choice.

3. MYTH:  Violence against women is a private family problem.
FACT:  Many families believe that what happens in the family should stay there. However, woman abuse impacts everyone and there is no shame in speaking up. We all have a part to play in ending violence against women. For more information, visit the Neighbours, Friends & Families website.

If you suspect you may be the victim of woman abuse, consider the following question: Has your partner, husband or boyfriend ever:

  • made you feel worthless?
  • forced sex or sexual acts?
  • put you down?
  • controlled money?
  • isolated you from friends/family?
  • needed to know where you were at all times?
  • threatened you?
  • grabbed, pinched, pushed or hit you?

If you answered yes to any of the above, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

See the Victims of Crime section of the Toolkit for resources for support and referrals concerning woman abuse (domestic violence).