Domestic violence is an issue that is too often swept under the rug. When it is brought to light, the conversation often centres around physical violence, even though domestic abuse can manifest in many different forms.
"If you were to ask most people to visualise what a [domestic abuse] survivor looks like, they'll start talking about broken bones, black eyes, cuts, and bruises," says Kelly Coyne, vice president of domestic shelters for Safe Horizon. "And while that's definitely a reality of domestic violence, I'd say, more often than not, abusive relationships really start with power and control issues." And sadly, this type of abuse can be hard to spot, and even harder to get people to pay attention to.
"When you hear stories about physical violence, that's shocking and everyone can understand why that's getting attention," Coyne says. "But these more nuanced things [non-violent forms of abuse] are really what allows that relationship to keep going."
To help change the conversation and clear up potentially dangerous misconceptions, here are some lesser-known types of abuse that don't involve violence.