Shining a light on abuse

Fifty Shades of Grey recently passed the $500 million mark in global box office sales.

A lot of fans consider the relationship depicted in the novel to be risqué and exotic, exciting and enticing. But there’s a large crowd of people who consider the relationship between the two main characters to be an abusive one.

According to Wesley Moore, a local Ottawa psychotherapist, there are four types of abuse.

“For those in an abusive relationship, it is not uncommon for some not to recognize they are being abused due to a belief that dynamics of the relationship, though abusive, are normal,” said Moore.

Emotional abuse can consist of verbal abuse, such as yelling or insulting a partner, as well as put downs, name calling, or various forms of manipulation. Forbidding a partner to spend time with or interact with friends is a form of emotional abuse. Physical abuse can range from shoving to punching or cutting the abuser’s partner.

Any form of unwanted or non-consensual sexual contact, from touching to intercourse, can be considered sexual abuse.

A lesser-known form of abuse occurs when an abuser controls their partner’s money in some way, known as financial abuse.

Identifying an abusive relationship is not always an easy task.

“A victim must first acknowledge he/she is in an abusive situation,” said Moore.

After identifying and acknowledging the situation, it’s important for a victim to reach out to someone they trust, a resource that offers service to abuse victims, or contact police.

An emotionally abusive relationship can become a competition sometimes, as in the case of Mark Chiasson and his ex-boyfriend.

Their three-month relationship consisted of avoiding each other and trying to see which partner could make the other feel guiltier for ignoring his partner.

“It ended when he said he was already sleeping with two other people,” said Chiasson. “Even though we had decided we were mutually exclusive.”

Since then, Chiasson has had one other relationship, and although long distance, his time in that one was much more understanding.

“The most important thing a person can do to help a victim of abuse is to believe them. Ask what you can do to help, listen, and let them know you are there to offer support,” said Moore.