This Evil Takes More Forms Than Many Realise – How You Can Recognise The Signs
We have all heard of domestic violence, but do we really understand how many different forms it can take?
Speaking the words “domestic violence” for most elicits images of battered and bruised women, subjected to unspeakable physical violence by their abusive partners. While this is certainly domestic violence, it also takes many other forms that go unrecognised. Here are some of the many forms it takes.
When talking about domestic violence, this is the main one that comes to mind. While it is clearly the most deadly form of abuse, many would argue that emotional abuse is equally as destructive.
Any man who is willing to put his hands on a woman in order to gain control or assert authority over them is a weak and gutless individual.
Similarly, any woman who abuses her male partner is equally as despicable. It is not acceptable for anyone, regardless of sex to use physical violence towards their partner.
Using violence of any kind against someone close to you is not love, it is to control pure and simple and it is wrong.
This form of domestic violence may not be as easily recognised as physical violence but it can be extremely damaging.
A perpetrator will subject the victim to emotional abuse in the form of “put down’s” — name-calling, pointing out a victim’s flaws, humiliating the victim. These are all acts the perpetrator will use on an abuse victim. The aim of this is to make the victim feel worthless, with the intention of keeping the victim beaten down so that the perpetrator can maintain power and control in the relationship.
In essence, it is the perpetrator who is the one with the insecurity. They are so fearful of losing their partner that they feel they need to destroy their partner’s self
According to Whiteribbon.org, examples of emotional abuse include:
- Blaming the victim for all the problems in the relationship
- Constantly comparing the victim to others in order to undermine their self-esteem or self-worth
- Yelling, insulting or swearing at the victim
- Intentionally embarrassing the victim in public
- Making the victim fee guilty if they refuse sex
- Threatening suicide
We all have fought in relationships and things can be said in the heat of the moment that we may regret later. However, if your partner is consistently putting you down, making you feel unloved and worthless then it is time to face the music.
Depriving a partner of money, withholding access to bank accounts or threatening to cease making payments on the mortgage are all examples of financial abuse.
Another such example is preventing a partner from joining or re-joining the workforce in order to prevent any type of financial security. This is sadly something I know all too well. My mother, I loved dearly. She was an angel on earth. She was, however, financially (as well as emotionally & socially) abused by her husband. She may not have recognised it, I certainly didn’t at a young age, but it was debilitating for her. Even in death, my step-father attempted to control my mother’s money.
Do not be fooled by this type of behaviour. These traits are considered domestic violence and should be taken seriously. People who possess these traits are not simply mean or frugal with money. They are abusers plain and simple.
This is another form of domestic violence that is not as easily recognised as physical abuse. Social abuse is when a perpetrator isolates their victim, keeping them from their friends and family, preventing them from making or maintaining friendships and preventing the victim from speaking with neighbours or others within their community.
Taking away a person’s family and friend network can make it extremely difficult for a victim to then leave their abusive relationship. Making a person wholly dependent on the perpetrator is a way to manipulate that victim into staying when ordinarily they wouldn’t.
Some examples of social abuse include:
- Monitoring someone’s phone calls, texts or emails
- Deciding which family members or friends the victim can spend time with
- Continuously criticising the victim’s friends and family
- Moving the victim far away so they cannot reach their friends or family
- Verbally and/or physically abusing the victim in public or in front of other people
It is not the trait of a decent individual to elicit control over someone they love. Monitoring their every move, controlling where they go, who they associate with, what time they get home. Checking social media accounts, messages, phone records and the like is not them being protective nor is it this person
These are the traits of a perpetrator and should not be ignored nor tolerated and should be addressed.
Blaming The Victim
“It is your fault I did this, you make me so angry, you made me act that way.” These are the manipulative words that a perpetrator will use to absolve themselves of blame. Making the victim feel as though they caused the perpetrators actions
Similarly, blaming certain factors like a woman’s hormones, emotional state or telling them they are psycho, crazy, that no one else would love them as they are all fall under two categories. One, blaming the victim – to absolve themselves of any blame and two, controlling behaviour. Making the victim feel worthless is a way to keep the victim under their control.
Any form of domestic violence is never the victim’s fault. Their actions did not cause any of the perpetrator’s behaviour, that is entirely their own responsibility. It is a responsibility that is rarely taken however because then perpetrator would have to admit they are the problem, something they are rarely able to do.
Shame is one of the biggest reasons why victims continue to endure domestic violence. Feelings of embarrassment and of being a failure mean women and men stay in relationships when they ought to leave.
If you are in a situation where you are suffering from domestic violence, a code of silence is not helpful. While seeking out help is hard, staying is more detrimental in the long run. Admitting you are a victim is
Many women choose to stay believing that the perpetrator will change. Believing the lies that they can somehow, overnight, change who they are is quite simply put, naive. A tiger never changes its stripes. This is also true for someone who has it within them to hurt the one they allegedly love.
Making The Decision To Leave
Children play an enormous role in a mother’s or indeed a father’s reasons for staying in an abusive relationship. Not wanting to uproot your child’s life and believing that keeping the family unit together is best for your children are considerations you will obviously make.
On the flip side, raising children in a home where, for instance, a father abuses their mother either physically, emotionally, mentally or financially or a combination of all of the above is far more detrimental to their wellbeing than their parents separating.
Your children will survive. They will forgive you. They will come to learn the truth, should you make the choice to tell them. If they are old enough to know what has been happening before you separate, they will respect you more if you choose to leave.
There Is Help Available
Speak to your GP should you wish to seek counselling in relation to the abuse, the separation or both. Crisis accommodation is available to get women away from domestic violence if they have nowhere else to go.
Confide in someone, be it family members or a close friend. Don’t go it alone. Find and join support groups for women who have been through the same situation. Find strength in others.
Most of all, forgive yourself. It isn’t your fault. You did not cause this behaviour. Men who commit domestic violence are inadequate in some part of their lives. They are the ones with issues, they are the ones who are wrong. Be kind to yourself. Regain your self-esteem and your self-worth and know that despite all that you have been through, you have survived.
Do you or someone you know need help regarding domestic violence? Visit www.whiteribbon.org for more information.