Everyone can face domestic abuse. However, it is often underestimated, justified, or simply denied. To notice and recognize the presence of signals that it is present in your family means to take the first step on the path to liberation. No person should exist in fear of other people. If something in the signs below seems familiar to you, take action and look for possible domestic abuse help.
What is domestic abuse?
We have several options for identifying this problem. The phrase itself implies that this violence occurs between people in a personal relationship – spouses or partners, sometimes former and not necessarily living together, regardless of whether a couple is heterosexual or homosexual. It is very important to distinguish a family conflict and partner violence – regularly recurring or increasing incidents following a particular pattern.
Conflicts, no matter how violent they are, go into the category of domestic abuse only when they occur at least twice in the same way. The principal difference is that a family conflict is local and isolated and arises on the basis of a specific problem that it is theoretically possible to resolve, for example, with the help of a psychologist or a lawyer. Simply put, any conflict has a beginning and an end. Domestic abuse is a system of the behavior of one family member towards another, based on power and control. It has no specific reason, except for the fact that one partner wants to control the other and to suppress him/her as a person at different levels. Such a problem can occur in couples of any age, nationality, economic or social level. And although women are more often its victims, male victims of domestic abuse are not a rarity as well – this especially concerns domestic verbal abuse, however, cases of physical violence are not excluded. At the same time, an abuser wants to achieve maximum benefit.
Speaking about the reasons for this problem, it is also worth mentioning the features of the victims themselves. There is a special kind of behavior that is called victimization. Criminologists define it as the victim’s unlawful, immoral or defiant behavior, which was the reason for committing the crime. Psychologists consider victimization as a complex of social, mental and physical signs and personality traits that increase the possibility of its transformation into a victim. Domestic abuse victims tend to provoke violence against them and provocations can be both active and passive. Provocative behavior can be attributed to active provocations and lack of resistance to an abuser and unconditional fulfillment of all his/her requirements – to passive.
Types of domestic abuse
Here we have four types of abuse that happen in families:
· Physical abuse
This one can be called the most common type of domestic abuse. It represents any physical impact on a person that is harmful to his or
her health. This includes beatings, injuries, and mutilations, use of weapons, etc.
· Psychological violence
It is aimed at causing moral harm and an impact on the human psyche. Psychological abuse can be seen quite often but it is most difficult to recognize and confront it. The consequences of psychological violence are not immediately apparent but can lead to serious mental disorders. The manifestations of psychological violence are very diverse. Insults, degrading dignity, threats, blackmail, downplaying of the achievements, intimidation, and all sorts of manipulations can be attributed to it.
· Sexual abuse
This is a form of harassment, expressed in the form of imposed sexual touches, sexual humiliation, coercion to sex and sexual acts. As a rule, in most cases, women are sexually abused in a family. And if both men and women can commit physical and psychological violence, men are sexually abusive in the overwhelming majority of cases.
· Economic violence
In family life, as a rule, it manifests itself in sole proprietorship of income, control over the cash expenditures of all family members, and refusal to give the necessary amount of money. For example, a husband insists that his woman should quit her job, thereby depriving her of the possibility of earning money by herself, which makes a woman financially dependent on her husband. This allows a man to fully control his woman and manipulate her.
Signs of domestic abuse
Look at these signs of domestic abuse checklist and try to notice some of the symptoms in your partner:
An abusive person has the need to control everything and everyone. This person will make decisions for you and for other people around, require doing what he/ she wants and expect from you unquestioning obedience. Such people can treat you as a slave, kid or even personal property.
Such a person can do anything just for the purpose to convince you to feel dissatisfaction with yourself, consider yourself inferior. The logic is simple: if an offender makes you think that you are measly and not needed by anyone, you are unlikely to run away from this person. Insults, offensive nicknames, dismissive treatment of you in front of other people – all these are tools that help destroy your self-confidence and make you feel your own insignificance.
An abuser usually uses threats to prevent a victim from breaking up, complaining, seeking help. Such a person can threaten to kill you, parents, friends, commit suicide, sue you, etc.
In addition to immediate threats, an abuser has a ton of other tactics. This person can look at you threateningly or make appropriate gestures, throw things at you, deliberately break them in front of your eyes, hurt pets, and many other things. All these actions contain a clear line: if you don’t obey, expect terrible consequences.
Your partner will restrict you to communicate with others just for increasing your “addiction” to him or her, forbidding you to meet with friends and relatives, go to work or study. You will have to ask for permission whenever you want to go somewhere or meet someone.
6. Denial and shifting of guilt
Abusers will explain their actions by a difficult childhood, a hard day, or even shift the blame on you. They can also minimize the damage or even deny what happened.
Asserting your needs and desires becomes like a war zone. And it is easier to simply adapt than worry that it will develop into a tense situation.
Such people show obvious disrespect for expressing their point of view at every opportunity. They don’t respect partners and everything they do.
It is easy for an abuser to imagine that a partner cheats on them even if there is no evidence of this. In turn, you can do your best to convince that this is not true. But this adds even more stress to relationships.
10. Forced sex
Sexual coercion is a large area of domestic abuse. An abuser can force on physical intimacy, saying that you need to have sex in order to “prove your love or he/she will go to another place”.
Domestic abuse therapy
What can you do in case of getting into “paws” of an offender?
· Don’t hide your feelings.
· Express your emotions and let your friends discuss them with you.
· Don’t avoid talking about what happened. Use every opportunity to discuss your experience alone, with yourself or with others. Let yourself be part of a group of people who care about you.
· Don’t let your feeling of embarrassment stop you when others give you a chance to talk.
· Don’t expect memories to go away by themselves. Feelings will stay with you and will visit you for a long time.
· Allocate time for sleep, rest, communication with your children and close friends.
· Express your desires directly, clearly and honestly. Talk about them to children, friends and colleagues.
· Try to keep your life as normal as possible.
· Seek professional help and call the domestic abuse hotline.
How to report domestic abuse
If you have experienced, recognized or become the witness of domestic abuse, you should do the following:
· Is domestic abuse a felony? Yes, so if you are severely beaten or you feel that your life is at risk, immediately call an ambulance and the police.
· After the arrival of the police, behave as calmly as possible. Ask law enforcement officers to take your offender to the police station.
· Pay attention to all your injuries and material damage when you report domestic abuse.
· Tell the police about other cases of violence against you if they occurred. Tell about witnesses, their names and contacts.
· Write a statement. The statement must contain information about the crime scene, the time of its commission, the identity of the perpetrator, as well as information about the consequences and the request to “initiate a criminal case and bring the offender to justice”.
· Don’t stay at home. If possible, go to relatives or friends (grabbing children if you are a parent). Don’t forget to take the money and documents. If you have no one to go to, contact the crisis center for victims of domestic violence. There you will be provided with temporary housing.
Domestic abuse facts and statistics
To assess the level of abuse against women worldwide, a statistical analysis of the United Nations was conducted in more than 70 countries, covering various groups of women and the types of violence they were subjected to – physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence.
The figures obtained as a result of a global study are terrifying – 35% of women were subjected to physical or sexual abuse, and this is every third woman in the world! Moreover, up to 38% of the murders of women in the world are committed by their intimate male partners. Depending on the country, domestic abuse statistics on women who are exposed to abuse differ dramatically. For example, in Japan, 15% of women experienced various forms of abuse, but in Ethiopia, the rate is much higher – 70%. Especially prevalent is gender-based abuse in developing countries, associated with cultural practices that are extremely merciless towards women, for example, the burning of young girls in India, Pakistan, and Nepal, kidnapping in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
In addition, in some African countries, the rite of female circumcision is striking in its cruelty and inhumanity – more than 140 million women have undergone such a terrifying procedure. As it was said by sociologists, “there is no region, country or culture in the world where women would be free from abuse”. Unfortunately, this is so even in developed countries – women are still not insured against this problem, which is confirmed by statistics: in Germany, 27.9% of women were victims of domestic abuse; in North America the level of abuse reaches 28.9%. So, this is the problem number one in our world!