What is Abuse

Abuse is a pattern of controlling behaviour used to gain and maintain power in a relationships by one partner over the other. The abuse often occur gradually and may include the use of fear, intimidation, threats and violence. These behaviors are intentional and not the fault of the woman. Women do not choose abuse. They choose the earlier days of the relationship when they may have been swept off their feet by a seemingly charming partner. An abusive partner, however, turns out to be someone quite different than the person with whom they fell in love.

The graphics below demonstrate the cycle of abuse and how power and control issues are at the core of abusive behaviors.

© 2015 Womankind Press. Do not copy or distribute without permission

© 2015 Womankind Press. Do not copy or distribute without permission

© 2015 Womankind Press. Do not copy or distribute without permission

Women who are 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 and ethnic backgrounds.
— Jill Cory & Karen McAndless

Impact on Children & Youth

Children learn the wrong information by witnessing violence and abuse. By being a witness to violence within the home, a child may experience long-term effects that carry into their adult life and relationships.

Although adults may think “the kids don’t know,” research shows that children see or hear 40 to 80% of domestic violence assaults. (The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children: Where does it Hurt?, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.)

Photo by AleksandarNakic/iStock / Getty Images

More Resources

How Can cythera help

Cythera provides a variety of programs and services to support woman, children and youth who have experienced domestic abuse and violence; including transitional housing, counselling, support and access to additional resources.

Safety PLanning

Safety is an important consideration in every abusive relationship. Cythera has provided detailed safety planning tips and tools to help in the creation of a safety plan. Be sure to contact us if you would like further information.


Resources for Professionals

Are you working with an individual whom you suspect in an abusive relationship? Cythera has provided information for professionals working with those impacted by abuse. Follow the link to Learn more.


BC211 provides a comprehensive database of resources available in the province of British Columbia. We invite you to access their database to find other services in the community that may be benefit to you and your family.