Physical and sexual abuse Physical abuse is the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers that person. Physical assault or battering is a crime, whether it occurs inside or outside of the family. The police have the power and authority to protect you from physical attack.
Any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and domestic violence. Furthermore, people whose partners abuse them physically and sexually are at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed.
Recovering from Rape and Sexual Trauma: Tips for Healing It is still domestic abuse if The incidents of physical abuse seem minor when compared to those you have read about, seen on television, or heard other women talk about.
The incidents of physical abuse have only occurred one or two times in the relationship. The physical assaults stopped when you became passive and gave up your right to express yourself as you desire, to move about freely and see others, and to make decisions. It is not a victory if you have to give up your rights as a person and a partner in exchange for not being assaulted! There has not been any physical violence.
Many people are emotionally and verbally assaulted. This can be just as frightening and is often more confusing to try to understand. Breaking the Silence Handbook Emotional abuse: Many men and women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often minimized or overlooked—even by the person being abused. Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse.
The scars of emotional abuse are very real and they run deep. You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with scars.
But emotional abuse can be just as damaging—sometimes even more so. Economic or financial abuse: Economic or financial abuse includes: In fact, abusive behavior and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to control you. Abusers use a variety of tactics to manipulate you and exert their power, including: Dominance — Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship.
They will make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as their possession.
Humiliation — An abuser will do everything they can to make you feel bad about yourself or defective in some way. After all, if you believe you're worthless and that no one else will want you, you're less likely to leave.
Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless. Isolation — In order to increase your dependence on them, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world.
They may keep you from seeing family or friends, or even prevent you from going to work or school. You may have to ask permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone.
Threats — Abusers commonly use threats to keep their partners from leaving or to scare them into dropping charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, other family members, or even pets.
They may also threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to child services. Intimidation — Your abuser may use a variety of intimidation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don't obey, there will be violent consequences. Denial and blame — Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable.
They will blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, or even on you and the kids, the victims of their abuse. Your abusive partner may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. They will commonly shift the responsibility on to you: Somehow, their violent and abusive behavior is your fault. Abusers are able to control their behavior—they do it all the time Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse.
Usually, they save their abuse for the people closest to them, the ones they claim to love. Abusers carefully choose when and where to abuse. They control themselves until no one else is around to see their abusive behavior. Abusers are able to stop their abusive behavior when it benefits them. Most abusers are not out of control. The cycle of violence in domestic abuse Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern or cycle of violence: Abuse — Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior.
The abuse is a power play designed to show you "who is boss. Excuses — Your abuser rationalizes what they have done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for the abusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility. They may act as if nothing has happened, or they may turn on the charm.
This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time. Fantasy and planning — Your abuser begins to fantasize about abusing you again. Then they make a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality. Set-up — Your abuser sets you up and puts their plan in motion, creating a situation where they can justify abusing you.
They may make you believe that you are the only person who can help them, that things will be different this time, and that they truly love you. However, the dangers of staying are very real. The full cycle of domestic violence: An example A man abuses his partner. After he hits her, he experiences self-directed guilt. He says, "I'm sorry for hurting you.
He tells her, "If you weren't such a worthless whore I wouldn't have to hit you. He then fantasizes and reflects on past abuse and how he will hurt her again.
He plans on telling her to go to the store to get some groceries. What he withholds from her is that she has a certain amount of time to do the shopping. When she is held up in traffic and is a few minutes late, he feels completely justified in assaulting her because "You're having an affair with the store clerk. Recognizing the warning signs that someone is being abused It's impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of emotional abuse and domestic violence.
If you witness these warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously. People who are being abused may: Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner Go along with everything their partner says and does Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they're doing Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner Talk about their partner's temper, jealousy, or possessiveness Warning signs of physical violence.
People who are being physically abused may: People who are being isolated by their abuser may: Be restricted from seeing family and friends Rarely go out in public without their partner Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car The psychological warning signs of abuse.
Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident Show major personality changes e. Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused.
By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.