The first thing that usually comes to mind in regards to domestic violence is physical abuse. What is shown in the media such as the recent case with Ray and Jana Rice, is that act of physical violence. However, there are different forms of abuse and they are all about maintaining power and control. The abuser will use one or more forms of abuse to have control over their partner. Abuse will begin with the non-physical and may gradually move up to physical abuse. Listed below are 8 forms of domestic violence:
- Emotional/Mental Abuse: This usually occurs before the physical abuse takes place in the forms of humiliation, name calling, putting her down, playing mind games, making her feel guilty, and making her thing she is crazy.
- Economic or Financial Abuse: This is where the abuser tries to maintain control by controlling the money. Examples include not giving her any money or maybe giving her an allowance, not allowing her to work, making her ask for money, and not letting her know about or have access to the family income, etc.
- Intimidation: This is a way to maintain control by making her afraid by using certain looks, actions, and gestures, yelling, smashing things, destroying her items, abusing pets, displaying weapons, etc.
- Using Children: The abuser may use children by making her feel guilty about the children, making threats to take them away, using visitation to harass her, and using children to relay messages.
- Isolation: The abuser may control what she does, who she sees, and talks to, what she reads, where she goes, limiting her outside involvement, and using jealously to justify actions.
- Coercion & Threats: The abuser may make and carry out threats to do something to hurt her, threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, making her drop charges, and make her do illegal activities.
- Male Privilege: The abuser may treat the abused like a servant, make all the decisions, define men’s and women’s roles, and make her feel inferior, and worthless.
- Minimizing & Blaming: Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously, saying it didn’t happen, and turning the tables by saying she caused it or made me do it.
It is usually one of the non-physical forms of abuse that makes it difficult for the victim to leave. If the abuser, is controlling the money then that will make it difficult for the abused person to pack up and leave. There is not much she can do with little or no resources. Or, the abuser may threaten to kill his partner or take her children away, or she may feel like she can’t make it own her own, or maybe want to make the marriage or relationship work, or feel a sense of loyalty.
It is important for the abused to carefully plan a way out. Usually, a safety plan is completed and followed because this is the most dangerous time for the victim of domestic violence. Leaving the situation is not easy as people think.
Domestic Violence is a social issue which impact our community. All of us can get involved and contribute to bringing awareness and getting educated. We can start by learning how to resolve conflict and manage our anger and teach our children and youth. We can donate our old cell phones to programs and domestic violent shelters.
To Your Success!
If you are in danger, call 911, your local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) and TTY 1-800-787-3224. Please use a safe computer to email or research help for domestic violence issues, where your search history is safe.