13.12.2018

Content:

Everyone can face domestic abuse. However, it is often underestimated, justified, or simply denied. Especially often – when it comes to psychological violence, not physical. To notice and recognize its presence in your relationship is to take the first step towards liberation. No one should live in fear of the person one loves.

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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is when one person tries to control their partner and obtain dominion over them in close relationships. These are the acts of emotional and physical harm which are regularly repeated in order to suppress the liberty of another person and gain control over him. A lot of people live in families where such a terrible abuse is present. And in these families, instead of love, trust, partnership, and security, there is anxiety, violence, and control.

Often, when people talk about domestic abuse, horrible pictures of raped women, battered children, and tyrant men appear. The media often presents the problem of family violence with the help of stereotypical images, such as violent drunk husbands, pathologically jealous men, and traditionally oriented, religious men. In reality, this is often not the case. An abuser can be not only a man but also a woman and even a child. There are much more cases of male victims of domestic abuse than you may think. Domestic violence can occur in couples of any age, nationality, economic and social status. Most importantly, this behavior cannot be tolerated, regardless of who does such terrible things – men, women, teenagers or adults. You deserve to feel safe, to be appreciated, and respected.

In our culture, the word "violence" often denotes extreme manifestations of this phenomenon: physical violence, beating, rape, or murder. It is important to understand that usually, domestic violence does not manifest itself in such extremes. Much more often, this happens in the form of "light" physical violence, such as kicks or tweaks, and the so-called abuse: harassment (not only of a sexual nature), humiliation, insults, disregard, and devaluation. Often, verbal abuse and threats eventually develop into physical violence. The most obvious danger here is the possibility of injury, but you should not underestimate the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic violence.

Relationships built on emotional violence destroy your self-esteem, lead to anxiety and depression, make you feel your own helplessness and loneliness. This is a painful condition that cannot be continued. And the first step towards liberation is to recognize the presence of violence in your situation. Only by realizing its existence, you get a chance to secure assistance.

Types of domestic abuse

Physical abusedomestic verbal abuse

Physical abuse is the use of physical force that harms or constitutes a certain danger to a person. The infliction of bodily harm is a crime, regardless of who does it –strangers or family members. In this case, domestic abuse victims have the right to ask for help from the police.

Sexual abuse

It is a kind of physical violence. It means not only sexual offences, that is, starting a sexual act, despite the evident rejection of another person, which is usually followed by physical violence. This is the use of another person’s sexuality or any forced sexual act. It means harassment, persuasion, coaxing, bribing, blackmail, etc. Sex in strong and healthy relationships always happens by mutual consent, brings pleasure and joy from intimacy with a partner.

Emotional and verbal abuse

It is the most popular type of domestic abuse. Emotional abuse is no less dangerous than physical abuse and is much more difficult to recognize. Often, even the victim of such violence does not realize it. The goal of emotional abuse is to deprive you of self-esteem and independence. The victim lives with the feeling that there is no way out of the situation, that there is nothing left in life without a partner.

Emotional violence includes domestic verbal abuse: a partner shouts at you, insults, or shames you. Isolation, humiliation, and constant control are also part of emotional violence. This is often supplemented by the threats of physical violence or other sanctions if you do not fulfill the requirements of the abuser.

It may seem to you that physical abuse is a thousand times more dangerous than emotional because it harms your health and leaves scars on your body. But the scars from emotional violence are just as real and deep. In fact, emotional abuse is no less — and sometimes even more — dangerous than physical abuse.

Economic abuse

It is a control over the financial situation of the family, the allocation of a small amount of money for the maintenance of the victim, and extortion. Also, it includes a prohibition on employment or education and intentional spending of family budget in order to create a strained atmosphere. When one of the partners refuses to work, this is also a form of economic violence. In this case, one forces the other to work.

Restriction of social contacts and territorial abuse

These are the restrictions and strict prohibitions on being in certain places under penalty of physical and emotional violence, or any kind of severe punishment. The abuser forbids a partner to meet with friends, relatives, and other people who are important for them. There are even cases when not only meetings but also references to certain people are prohibited. Also, this includes a prohibition on being in certain places in the apartments. To punish a child for disobedience by not letting him or her walk out is also a kind of violence.

Signs of domestic abuse

Many people do not even think that they are victims of domestic violence, so take a closer look at these signs of domestic abuse checklist.

Dominating

An abuser always needs to be the most important person in the house. He makes decisions for you and for the rest of the family, tells you what to do, and expects unquestioning obedience from you. He can treat you as a servant, a child, or even his personal property.

Humiliation

An abuser does everything possible so that you feel discontent and consider yourself inferior. The logic is: if he makes you believe that you are worthless and are not needed by anyone, you are unlikely to run away from him. Insults, offensive nicknames, and reprimands, neglecting you in front of outsiders are all tools designed to destroy your self-esteem and make you feel your own impotence.

Threats

An abuser usually uses threats to prevent the victim from escaping from him or complaining and seeking help. He can threaten to kill you, your children, other family members, pets, commit suicide, or sue you bringing fabricated charges.

Intimidation

In addition to immediate threats, an abuser has a ton of other tactics. He can look at you threateningly or make appropriate gestures, hurt animals that you love, throw things, or deliberately break them in front of you. All these actions contain a clear message: if you don’t obey, wait for the terrible consequences.

Insulation

To increase your dependence on him, a partner separates you from the rest of the world: prohibits meeting with friends and relatives, going to work or university. You have to ask his permission whenever you want to go somewhere or meet someone.

Denial and blame shifting

Abusers are great masters to find excuses for what is impossible to justify. They explain their behavior by a difficult childhood, a hard day, or even shift the blame on you. He can also minimize the harm done to you or even deny what has happened.

Domestic abuse facts and statistics

Is domestic abuse a felony? Violence against women, especially by an intimate partner and sexual abuse of women, is a serious public health problem and a violation of human rights.domestic abuse help

• According to data on the global prevalence of violence, every third woman (35%) in the world throughout her life is subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner.

• In most cases, it is intimate partner violence. Globally, 30% of women in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual abuse from their partner during their lifetime.

• Up to 38% of the murders of women in the world are committed by their intimate male partners.

• Violence can adversely affect the physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health of women, and in some circumstances increase the risk of HIV infection.

• Violence is more likely to be manifested by men who have a low level of education, suffered child abuse, witnessed violence against their mother, abuse alcohol, favor gender norms based on inequality, and feel superiority over women.

• Violence from an intimate partner is more likely to be experienced by women who have a low level of education, witnessed violence towards their mother, were mistreated in childhood and have a tolerant attitude towards violence, favor ideas about the dominance of men and the subordinate position of women.

• According to available domestic abuse statistics, advocacy and counseling can help to empower women, as well as home visits, may prevent and reduce violence from intimate partners.

How to report domestic abuse

You may feel addicted to the abuser. It is possible that the feeling of love has not yet outlived itself – there is confidence that you really need a home tyrant, so close and dear. Or one of the members of the family is firmly convinced that it is better to stay with him in order to preserve the appearance of well-being. You still have a false sense of duty, because of which comes the decision to keep the relationship. The abuser can threaten and make you feel that it will be more dangerous to leave him than to stay together or promise to change and beg you to stay with him.

Sometimes it is very difficult to define domestic abuse and solve this problem without the help of other people. You may not want to talk about your family with strangers. Or it can be assumed that domestic violence is a private matter. But this is a great social problem that affects not only an individual family and children but also society as a whole. Moreover, it is especially dangerous for children to live in a violent environment.

Talk to someone – a doctor, a social worker, a teacher, a police officer; you can contact any other person you trust. If your child is abused or witnesses violence against you, you have to contact the police, call domestic abuse hotline or the Child Protection Authority.

Domestic abuse therapy

To recognize the presence of trouble in the relationship means to take the first, most difficult step to resolve the problem and seek domestic abuse help. It must be remembered that there are special services, centers, and funds that help victims of domestic abuse and the aggressors as well.

The most common and effective way to solve such problems is the so-called intervention, in which not only the psychologist takes part, but also the closest social circle of the victim. The same system is used to eliminate hard drinking and drug abuse. Close victims should come together and, under the supervision of a psychologist, explain to the person that they need to get out of violent relationships. Most likely, the first reaction will be negative, but it is more effective than a long one-on-one conversation or a visit to a psychologist.

Do not keep silent, report domestic abuse! You deserve to feel safe, to be appreciated, and respected.

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