TYPES OF ABUSE: Knowing is Half the Battle
Photo by: Laurin Rinder
1. PHYSICAL ABUSE
Physical abuse can be easier to recognize and understand than other types of abuse.
- Scratches, bites, grabs or spits at current or former (or potential) intimate partner.
- Shakes, shoves, pushes, restrains or throws her.
- Twists, slaps, punches, strangles, or burns the victim.
- Throws objects at her.
- Locks her in or out of the house or holds her against her will threatening with violence or weapons.
- Refuses to help when she is (or children) sick, injured or pregnant, or withholds medication or treatment.
- Withholds food or water as punishment.
- Abuses her at mealtime, which disrupts eating patterns and can result in malnutrition or eating disorders.
- Abuses her at night, which disrupts sleeping patterns and can result in sleep deprivation or fear of sleeping.
- Abuses or threatens her in another room (quietly-pushing, pinching, etc.) when family or friends are around.
- Attacks her with weapons or kills her.
2. SEXUAL ABUSE
Sexual violence and abuse can be extremely difficult for victims to talk about because of embarrassment or shame because of how it takes place.
- Is jealously angry and assumes that she will have sex with anyone (even though she has done nothing suspicious or indicative or such).
- Withholds sex and affection as punishment.
- Calls her sexually derogatory names like whore, slut, bitch, cunt, etc..
- Pressures her to have sex when she does not want to and/or threatens to hurt her if she does not comply.
- Insists that his partner dress in a more sexual way than she wants (and may even abuse her for it later and accuse her of being promiscuous for doing it).
- Coerces sex by manipulation or threats (or threatening to take things away).
- Physically forces her to have sex or is sexually violent (forceful thrusting during sex, pulling hair, biting, choking, being rough and tossing her around).
- Coerces her into sexual acts that she is uncomfortable with, such as sex with a third party, physically painful sex, sexually activity she finds offensive or verbal degradation before, during, and after sex.
- Inflicts injuries that are sex specific (in sexual areas like vagina, buttocks, breasts, etc.)
- Denies the victim or contraception or protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
- Knowingly giving her a sexually transmitted disease that he has acquired while having sex with others.
3. PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE
The abuser's use of physical and sexual force and abuse or threats gives power to his psychologically abusive acts. Psychological abuse aids the abuser in controlling and instilling fear in the victim causing her to feel helpless and hopeless and that she is not worthy of love. This type of abuse may even damage a victim to the extent that she feels sorry for her abuser thinking that she can make him better or help him to change by staying.
- The abuser breaks promises, doesn't follow through on agreements or doesn't take fair share of household or familial responsibility.
- Verbally attacks and humiliates his partner in private or in public.
- Always talks negatively about her appearance or calls her dumb, stupid, and tells her that she is nothing.
- Attacks her vulnerabilities, such as: her language abilities, educational level (even if it is higher than his), skills as a parent, religious or cultural beliefs, her family and talks negatively about them or her upbringing, her physical body (calls her fat, skinny, ugly, etc.).
- Plays mind games, such as when he denies requests he has made previously or when he undercuts her sense of reality (making her feel 'crazy' saying that he never promised something when he actually did).
- Forces her to do degrading things (ex. making her get on her knees to ask for things or to scrub floors)
- Ignores her feelings or controls when she is allowed to talk (to him or to others).
- Withholds approval or affection as punishment.
- Regularly threatens to leave her, tells her to leave knowing she has no money or no place to go, or threatens to replace her with another woman.
- Harasses her about affairs that he imagines that she might be having.
- Stalks her.
- Always claims to be right.
- Is unfaithful and openly shows it without regard to her feelings or the relationship.
4. ECONOMIC ABUSE
Economic abuse controls the victims ability to have self determination, to take care of her own needs properly, or to escape a dangerous situation with the abuser.
- Controls all the money.
- Does not allow her to work outside the home or sabotages her attempts to go to work or to school.
- Takes all of her earned income.
- Refuses to work and makes her support the family completely on her own.
- Ruins her credit.
- Spends his money on other women, alcohol, or drugs and refuses to share with her for her needs or to contribute to household.
- Makes her feel responsible or feel sorry for him for not being employed or contributing to the household and accuses her of not respecting him for it.
*RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VIOLENCE AND OTHER TACTICS OF CONTROLS
Domestic violence is not an isolated, individual event but rather a pattern of repeated behaviors. Assaults are repeated against the victim by the same perpetrator over and over again and without help and counseling the victim may very well find herself in a pattern of abusive (different forms )relationships one after the other. Some assaults against the victim may occur every day while some occur on occassion. Even abuse that takes place once or twice a year is dangerous and can escalate as time goes on. Abuse is still abuse whether daily or annually. Knowing this can save a life. The use of abuse tactics if effective for the abuser because one battering incident can build on past incidents and can set the stage for future incidents.
Some Control Tactics Include:
- Using the children
- Damaging victims relationships with others
- Attacking property and pets or harrassing victim at place of employment.
- Threatening victim's family or friends.
- Stalking partner or ex-partner
- Interrupting new or potentially new relationships by bullying prospects or dates.
Recognize your situation. If you are someone that you know is suffering from domestic abuse in any of these forms please get help. We know its scary and you might feel helpless, but many of us have survived it and you can too. Don't wait. He won't get better or change just because you stay. You deserve love and your life is valuable. Love doesn't hurt.