There are many forms of violence and abuse. GHAF offers specialist support to women and children who may be experiencing a variety of forms of gender-based violence including: domestic violence; rape and sexual abuse; forced marriage; and prostitution.
The abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual. Anyone forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s reaction is being abused. It can begin at any stage of the relationship. Domestic violence is rarely a one-off. Incidents generally become more frequent and severe over time.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. Whilst domestic violence happens in all relationships (heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), statistics show the vast majority of domestic violence incidents are carried out by men and experienced by women.
You might be experiencing domestic violence if you're in a relationship with someone who:
- Calls you names, insults you or puts you down
- Prevents or discourages you from going to work or school or seeing family members or friends
- Tries to control how you spend money, where you go, what medicines you take or what you wear
- Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful
- Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs
- Tries to control whether you can see a health care provider
- Threatens you with violence or a weapon
- Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or your pets
- Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
- Blames you for his or her violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it
- Threatens to tell friends, family, colleagues or community members your sexual orientation or gender identity
Domestic violence is a crime. We all have a role to play in bringing domestic violence to an end.
Pregnancy, children and abuse
For many women, pregnancy is a time of happiness and anticipation. But pregnancy can also be a risk factor for domestic violence.
Domestic violence during pregnancy puts a pregnant woman and her unborn child in danger. It increases the risk of miscarriage, infection, premature birth, low birth weight, fetal injury, and fetal death.
Children who grow up in abusive homes are more likely to be abused and have behavioral problems than are other children. As adults, they're more likely to become abusers or think abuse is a normal part of relationships
You might worry that telling the truth will further endanger you, your child, or other family members — and that it might break up your family — but seeking help is the best way to protect your children and yourself.