Abusers deny abuse

Building Your Case: How to Document Abuse

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If you are in an abusive relationship and are in the process of taking (or deciding to take) legal action against your abusive partner, documenting the abusive behaviors of your partner can be an important component of building your case.

It’s worth noting that each state has different laws about what evidence and documentation can be used in court. Speaking with a legal advocate in your state might better prepare you for your unique situation (our advocates at the Hotline can help locate a legal advocate near you). According to WomensLaw, in most states evidence can include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Verbal testimony from you or your witnesses
  • Medical reports of injuries from the abuse
  • Pictures (dated) of any injuries
  • Police reports of when you or a witness called the police
  • Household objects torn or broken by the abuser
  • Pictures of your household in disarray after a violent episode
  • Pictures of weapons used by the abuser against you
  • A personal diary or calendar in which you documented the abuse as it happened

Below are a few actions you can take to create documentation, if you are able to or feel safe doing so:

Visit the doctor.

More and more, doctors and gynecologists are trained to recognize signs of abuse. Your health care provider could also be a safe resource for disclosing the abuse. If you’re visiting a doctor for an injury, ask them about safe ways they can make notes about the abuse — ex. Some can write “cause of an injury” without it having to go to the police.

Consider outside documentation.

Do you have a trusted friend, coworker or family member who knows what’s going on and would be willing to help? There are many ways they can help document the abuse — whether that’s a coworker making note of times your partner calls you at the office, or a friend holding your journal at her house.

Create a stalking log.

If your partner is stalking you, creating a stalking log can be very helpful to your case. The National Center for Victims of Crime’s Stalking Resource Center has examples of stalking logs (in PDF and Word formats) as well as additional information on stalking.

Learn more about police reports.

ex. Like filing about a lost bike. Ask, “Hypothetically, if there was something that was happening that I would want to report…”

Always ask questions. Call your local police department’s non-emergency number and find out about the protocols and procedures of filing a police report.

This can help you prepare for filing a police report if you need to, which creates a paper trail of the abuse.

Take pictures.

A digital camera or your phone camera may not always be safe. Consider getting a disposable camera. Another option is for someone else to take the pictures and keep them for you.

Let it go to voicemail.

Is your partner calling over and over? Let it go to voicemail once and save the voicemail.

Save digital evidence.

Do you have a smartphone? Most have the “take a screenshot” option. Thirty missed calls from your abusive partner? Take a screenshot of that. Threatening texts? Instead of responding to them, take a screenshot of them. These screen shots get saved in your images folder, so remember to send them on to a friend and delete them. If your partner sends threatening emails, don’t respond to them, but consider saving them in a folder in your inbox.

If you’re not sure if documenting your abuse would be safe, always go with your gut. It’s very important to keep in mind that you are the expert on your situation, and what works for one person may not be a safe idea for another person.

We are not legal advocates at the Hotline, but we are able to offer support and refer you to the local or state resources that might be helpful to you.

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Mental Wellness Articles




"Did he actually not think what he did was wrong? Or does he just not want to get caught?"

By Kelly Graham, MSW, RSW

​Often when confronted with allegations of abuse, the accused denies that the abuse ever happened, or downplays the severity of their actions. This can often make the survivors of abuse feel angry, confused, and hopeless. Unless there is physical proof, often it comes down to one person’s word against the other’s. But why do they deny the abuse? Well, there are a few different possibilities. However, no matter why they are denying or minimizing the abuse, this DOES NOT excuse their behaviour.

​The most obvious possibility is that they do not want to be held accountable for their actions. They don’t want to face criminal charges or be arrested. By denying the abuse, it can make it harder for them to be held accountable. People sometimes lie to try and save themselves from having to endure the consequences of what they have created. However, when someone abuses others, their perception of right and wrong is already skewed, so lying about it is not too far of a stretch for them. Abusers will also try and keep survivors quiet. They do this by threatening them, continuing to abuse them, and convincing others around them that the survivor is crazy. They may also attack the survivor’s credibility so that they will be believed over them. A common tactic that abusers use is playing the role of the victim. This way people will feel sympathy for them, and hold the survivor accountable for the abuse that occurred. Some even manipulate the survivor into believing that they are responsible for the abuse and that they mistreated the abuser. While it can be hard to fight this manipulation, it is important to remember that they are at fault for the abuse, not you.
Another possibility is that unfortunately, some people believe that abuse is acceptable. This can be hard to change because providing education is not always enough to change people’s beliefs, especially if they have held this belief for a long time. There may be a variety of reasons why the abuser may think abuse is acceptable, such as growing up seeing abuse or being abused, or being taught that it is acceptable. However, this does not excuse the abuse.
Abusers will sometimes claim that they do not remember the abuse. One disturbing theory is that some people engage in these actions so often, that they may not remember specific incidents. To them, abuse is just routine and has happened multiple times. The abuser may also be telling the truth when they say they do not remember the abuse. Research has shown that emotions associated with some events can alter your memories. Therefore, if the abuser feels so much shame or guilt over what they did, their memories may be shaped to protect their view of themselves. These memories can be altered to let them believe that the abuse did not happen, or in the case of sexual abuse, that it was consensual. A similar thing happens to survivors — the traumatic impact of the abuse blocks these traumatizing memories out the mind. It is the brain’s way of trying to protect itself. However, this is far more likely to happen to survivors of abuse rather than the abuser’s themselves.
Lastly, the abuser may believe that they are a good person, and therefore believe that they do not abuse people. Some people look at abuse as being only physical or sexual. This is not the case. There are a variety of different types of abuse, such as verbal/emotional, mental/psychological, financial, and even digital. So, when people are only using these forms of abuse, they may not realize that they are being abusive. This conflict between their belief and actions makes them deny or minimize the abuse to try and convince themselves, and others, that they are still a good person. When it comes to sexual assault, often they will say that the acts were consensual and that there was just a misunderstanding. One study found that perpetrators of sexual abuse were more likely to admit to situations of non-consensual sex or aggressive sexual situations, but do not call it rape or believe what they did was a crime. There is a disconnect between their actions and what they believe they did. One reason for this disconnect is they are consciously or unconsciously trying to rationalize their behaviour so they can still hold the belief that they are a good person.  
You may wonder why I am writing about this; why is this something we need to know? I am not trying to protect or help perpetrators of abuse. I found that knowing these reasons actually helped with my own healing after being sexually abused. Through all of the pain I went through, I never understood why he blatantly denied what he had done to me. It made me angry that he could not admit what he did. It made me even question my sanity and if the abuse happened. After sitting through a Criminal Injuries Compensation Board hearing, and listening to my abuser repeatedly deny what he did to me, it made me beyond angry. Did he actually not think what he did was wrong? Or does he just not want to get caught? At the end of the hearing, the adjudicator told me why he believes abusers deny the abuse. Though I don’t remember his exact words, it was a combination of the abuser not wanting to be held accountable and trying to hold onto the belief that they are a good person. This brought me comfort. I know he will never admit what he did to me, but getting a glimpse into why he denied everything actually helped me feel better. I hope this article can help you too.
Know that you aren’t crazy, that you aren’t alone, and that it is common for abusers to deny or minimize what they did to you. I want you to know that no matter why your abuser is doing this, the abuse DID happen, and it IS important. 

In Ontario, May is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month to bring attention to the devastating impact sexual assault has on survivors. It is also a time to discuss how to prevent this violence from happening and how we can better support survivors. There is still a long way to go to end the stigma of being a sexual assault survivor and to help survivors have easy access to much needed services such as counselling, proper medical attention, and legal support. You can help raise awareness by wearing purple and having these conversations about how to support survivors and stop the violence.


Why is the victim blamed for the violence? — The Village Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan ranks first in the CIS in terms of sexual violence: 647 cases of rape occurred here in six months, according to official figures alone. Meanwhile, support for victims of violence is unusual for Kazakh society: they are subjected to harassment on the Internet and offline. Statements like “muddy history” and “she is to blame”, justifying the crime by the girl’s clothes or lifestyle is shifting the blame for the deed from the offender to the victim. We talked to the psychologist Azhar Sultanova and found out why rapists are justified and the victim is considered guilty.

“No one is safe from sexual abuse: it can happen to anyone at any time and in any place. It is difficult for us to accept this psychologically, since every person has a need for a sense of security. To satisfy this need, you need to believe in your control over everything that happens in life, including - over what is beyond our control - over the actions of other people. This leads to thinking like "this won't happen to me as long as I'm doing the right thing." A false causal relationship is created: the rape happened because the woman was dressed wrong, walked late at night, drank, went to visit alone, and so on.

The blame is shifted from the rapist to the victim. People are subconsciously afraid to be in her place, so they distance themselves: control over the situation was in her hands, so she herself is to blame. Hence the thoughts like: "She provoked him", "I was traveling alone on the train - what did she want?" Victimblaming helps us feel safe as long as the made-up rules are followed: don't go out at night, don't ride the train alone, don't trust strangers, and so on.

The choice to rape or not is made by the perpetrator, not the victim

To say that the survivor is responsible for the abuse is to say that the perpetrator had no control. That he didn't understand what he was doing. This is not true, because the choice to rape or not is made by the rapist, not the victim. Rapists give themselves mental permission to commit a crime and commit it consciously. And the victim is at the wrong time, in the wrong place.

There is a social aspect to blaming the victim: the more people agree that the rape is her fault, the more relaxed society feels. Everyone understands in the depths of the soul that it can be in its place, which means that it remains in danger, therefore it lulls consciousness with a false cause-and-effect relationship.

Victimblaming grows out of existential fear - the fear that something will happen to us

Even a tolerant and advanced person can be a victimblamer. It's not about education, but about psychological preparation.

In the family and relatives of the rapist, a different feeling turns out to be leading - denial. Accusations for them become a shock. They know the rapist from the other side: as a loving son, a caring husband, a good friend. They deny the shady side of the abuser and blame the victim. Their mothers turn on the maternal instinct, which requires protecting the child from accusations. Denial and unwillingness to believe in guilt are reinforced by the blaming reaction of society.

A person who commits a crime remains someone's son, husband, friend, but must be punished

How to react normally to such news? Recognize both the presence of good traits in a person and the fact of committing a crime. This is how the law reacts: a person, committing a crime, remains someone's son, husband, friend, but he must be punished for the crime. The truth is somewhere between the two extremes that people rush into - from the complete justification of the rapist to the desire to apply extreme measures up to castration and the death penalty.

Blaming makes survivors ashamed of the experience and of themselves

Victimblaming has a negative impact on society as a whole and on individuals in particular. Women who have the courage to speak out in Kazakh society and demand justice are branded and humiliated. Therefore, most rape survivors remain silent and suffer in silence. Accusations make survivors ashamed of the experience and of themselves. Society instills in them that they are responsible for violence - it means that something is wrong with them and they deserve punishment.

Dialogue is born in the struggle of opinions. This is good: society wakes up, sees the problem. The Facebook feed is full of posts calling for an increase in the term for rape, people go to rallies, hold flash mobs - all this is necessary to raise the general level of culture. It is in the process of public resonance that people will be able to look into the eyes of their existential fear and understand that they are also not protected from violence.

TEXT: Damina Mukitanova

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Forms of psychological abuse of children and their consequences

Violence can be physical or emotional. This applies not only to girls, women, but also to the male sex. Behind it quite often lie psychological problems. Emotional abuse is no less destructive and dangerous than physical abuse.

Psychological abuse

It can be in a family between a man and a woman, between parents and children, in a work team. The most common and “sore” topic is psychological violence in relationships. Very often on the Internet, especially on social networks, you can see how young girls accuse their guys of abuse, not understanding at all what is hidden under this term. Those who were subjected to emotional, mental violence did not always even understand what was happening.

Psychological abuse can manifest itself in the following:

  • complete dependence of the victim on the aggressor. This implies the emotional, physical, financial aspects;
  • the aggressor belittles the victim, devalues ​​her and her achievements, successes;
  • the victim is always to blame for everything;
  • partner ignores as punishment. This can last for weeks, months;
  • the wishes of the victim are never taken into account.

There can be many options for manifestation. In the end, assaults and open hatred are possible.

Why the victims stay with the aggressor

The thing is that “psychological abusers” convince their victim that such a model of behavior is the norm. Sometimes they add phrases: “Look what others have. Go ask around. I don't drink and I'm not a drug addict." And the victim takes for granted and normal such behavior.

It is quite difficult to get out of a relationship where there is psychological pressure, since fear, dependence, lack of independence prevail here.

Book an online consultation if you suspect something is wrong in your relationship. Our psychologists at a remote consultation will provide psychological, moral support, conduct psychoanalysis, help build a new model of behavior, and will be in touch at any time of the day.

Forms of psychological abuse of children

Emotional, psychological abuse negatively affects the whole life of the child, his future. Very often, parents are sure that they do everything for their child. They are not even aware of future problems and a broken life.

Commonly used forms of violence:



Blackmail, threats, intimidation

Often it looks like this: if the child does not fulfill the requirement, they will take away a toy from him, will not let him go for a walk, and gadgets will be banned. There may be threats: “If you don’t stop, I will punish you, put you in a corner.” At the same time, parents report that they are still behaving gently, since they were beaten with rods in childhood.

Ignorance, coldness, alienation

It manifests itself in the following variants: rude or silent responses to a child's declaration of love for a parent, repulsion at the moment when the baby goes to hug. Parents often refer to their busyness on the phone, ignoring simple requests for help from their child.

Comparison, overstated requirements

Parents very often form in their minds a certain model of behavior that children must comply with. If this does not happen, reproaches, punishments, conflicts begin. They do not remember the desires of the baby, forgetting that he is a person

Broken promises, duplicity, lies

This may be a false promise of reward for the work done at home, success in school. At home, adults can be tyrants, in public they can be the most caring parents in the world.


The prohibition to go out alone on the street, out of the room, communicate with peers

Humiliation, ridicule

A public insult to the offspring for mistakes, mistakes, inappropriate jokes that the child did not appreciate “at its true worth”


Parents know best what their child needs. Interests, desires of the child are not taken into account, their opinion is imposed

These are quite common types of psychological, emotional abuse of children in the family. If this is repeated regularly with an enviable frequency - it is worth considering. After all, childhood trauma is the most difficult to treat.

Example A mother dies in the family. The husband eventually finds a new wife. He left behind a 4 year old son. The woman disliked the baby, was jealous of him for her husband and his father. The boy liked to dress up in outfits, make up and play performances, imagining that he was a great actor. For his own purposes, he used his stepmother's cosmetics, her scarves. For which each time he received a scolding, reprimands. The stepmother punishes the kid, complained to his father. Instead of supporting the child in his endeavors, explaining the rules of behavior, the parents punished him by humiliating and insulting him. The father was sure that his wife was good and could not just get angry every time. So the son behaves badly and deserves it. The child grew up, became cruel, uncommunicative.

Consequences of emotional abuse

The complications of an unhealthy relationship between parents and children can be depressing. Such people are not self-confident, they have low self-esteem, which makes it difficult to achieve heights. The consequences may be:

  • anger, cruelty;
  • distrust of others;
  • suicidal tendencies, crimes;
  • alcoholism, drug addiction;
  • developmental delays;
  • suicide;
  • unhealthy ideas about the family, upbringing;
  • inability to make decisions.

Important! Parental behavior can disrupt their child's adult life. Therefore, before you scream, humiliate, insult, you need to analyze the situation, understand what exactly you don’t like and calmly discuss with the child.

Violence at work

This behavior is called bullying and mobbing. The first type is found in groups - schools, work, institutions, sports teams, etc. The second option is psychological terror, bullying. At work, this manifests itself in the following:

  • ignoring;
  • unreasoned criticism;
  • invasion of personal space;
  • constant mockery of the personality;
  • screaming, physical punishment in the form of beatings.

Mental violence in the workplace occurs between superiors and subordinates, or seniors in the team by rank, position and privates. At the same time, the professional merits and skills of the victim are not important to the aggressor. Bullying is intended to humiliate. Very often, the aggressor tries to involve other members of the team in the conflict, persecution. In this case, the victim is not at all sweet.

Sign up for an online consultation if you notice violence in the workplace, in a team against yourself. Our psychologists will analyze the situation, help you find a way out, sort out interpersonal conflicts, and conduct a psychoanalysis. Choosing any convenient tariff, you get round-the-clock consultations with the best specialists.

Physical abuse

This includes sexual abuse and physical punishment. The first category is characterized by dividing life into “before” and “after”. Victims of sexual abuse have only themselves to blame. This happens because of the stereotypes imposed by society. We are often told: “It was necessary to think with your head”, “There is nothing to dress like that”, “It’s my own fault. If I didn't want to, it wouldn't happen." There are many such destructive phrases. The victims turn out to be “renegades” with whom they try not to communicate. What happens in the unconscious of victims of violence?

The psychology of sexual violence is such that a person’s consciousness “I can do anything” is disturbed. This is due to the fact that he could not stand up for himself, overestimated his capabilities, guilt. The rapist violates the personal space of the victim. It broadcasts envy, hatred, sadism, cruelty, indifference. The victim is not ready for this situation. Here we are talking not only about sexual, but also about any physical, emotional violence. Self-esteem suffers. Violence is a blow to self-esteem, self-confidence. As a result, there may be fear in communicating with the opposite sex.

Personal hell of the victim

The psychology of the victim after the incident is broken. Fear of violence develops, its repetition. There is a desire for revenge. This is the normal state. It's hard to deal with violence. All events are etched in memory for a long time. The victim is trying with all his might to restore self-esteem. This can be expressed in the manifestation of aggression, hatred towards people who have little resemblance to the aggressor. This may be the manner of speaking, the timbre of the voice, similar behavior, gestures. The transfer of emotions is never carried out on “good people”. This is how synchrony works.

Example After the rape, the girl was afraid to tell anyone about it. She tried to cope with what had happened on her own. Instead, she fell into a deep depression. Psychological help arrived in time in the face of her sister, who saw that something was wrong with her relative. After working with psychologists, psychotherapists, the girl managed to level out. However, now she prefers to build her relationships only with the female sex, categorically denying any opportunity to get off with a man.

The worst thing that can happen after physical violence is the transfer of guilt by society from the aggressor to the victim. This is due to the fact that pain, disappointment, anger emanates from the victim.


What is covert violence?


This is a depreciation of a partner, an emotional swing, total control. This includes abuse, gaslighting. If traces of violence are not visible, this does not mean that it is not dangerous. In the case of the hidden, it is about the mental health of the victim.

How to help yourself after emotional abuse?


It must be clearly understood that every person has the right to be vulnerable. Don't take the blame entirely. Understand that there is a right to express any feelings. Everyone is entitled to support. Don't close.

How is violence different from conflict?


Violence is the intentional infliction of harm on another by means of control, power. There is fear, intimidation, hierarchy. Conflict - the inability to find a compromise between two interlocutors with different opinions.

How to offer help in case of violence?


First you need to make sure that a person needs it, is ready to accept it. If a person is ready to accept help, it is permissible to offer water, tea, ask questions that will bring you back to reality. If necessary, provide a safe place, seat. Do not try to immediately hug, stroke, regret.

Expert opinion

Those who have experienced violence try to keep silent about it, guided by fear and shame. To forget what happened like a bad dream and live as if nothing happened, to fight pain in your soul - it will not work.

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