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What is domestic abuse?


Fri, Mar 2. 2012

by Nailah John

Leave Out Violence in S.V.G. Association

Domestic abuse is intentional controlling or violent behavior by an intimate partner towards the victim. Abusive relationships are characterized by episodic, unpredictable outbursts by the abuser that often begin as verbal and emotional abuse which usually leads to physical abuse.{{more}} Domestic violence is a common problem extending to individuals of varying ages, socioeconomic classes, cultural and racial backgrounds. Domestic abuse is a serious and common problem. It frequently remains concealed since patients often hide that they are in abusive relationships, and the clues may be subtle or not even present at all.

Studies in the United States have found that at least one in every four women has been the victim of domestic abuse. The prevalence of abuse tends to increase among certain groups: single, divorced, separated, abuse alcohol or drugs or whose partners do, under 35, pregnant or recently obtained a restraining order. Women with unplanned pregnancies have a three times higher risk of physical abuse compared to women who planned their pregnancies.

Violence against women can be placed into categories: dating violence, domestic and intimate partner, emotional and verbal abuse, sexual assault, stalking. Emotional and verbal abuse is an attempt to depersonalize the victim and make you feel alone. It may also be a sign that there is physical abuse. Emotional and verbal abuse usually involves name calling, yelling, criticizing, playing mind games, threatening and preventing you from associating with friends and family. Mostly women are victims of sexual assault, but men are also victims. Most sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the victim knows: a neighbour, close friend or family member. Signs of stalking are following a person, harassing phone calls or texts and appearing at a person’s home or work.

Signs to tell if you are in an abusive relationship

– being criticized for little things – restricts visiting

– monitors you at all times – demeans you

– accuses you of being unfaithful constantly – threatens/uses weapons against you

– controls your spending – kicks, punches, slaps, shoves, bites you

– destroys your property – forces you to have sex

Consequences of abuse

Domestic violence causes a range of morbid consequences. The controller dominates most aspects of the victim’s life and makes her increasingly dependent on the abuser. Victims of abuse may develop anxiety and or depression. Children witnessing the abuse may suffer psychological harm as well. Many chronically abused women turn to alcohol and drugs to distract themselves from their problems. Physical abuse can lead to soft tissue trauma, cuts, broken bones and even DEATH.

Reach out to someone you trust and contact the authorities if you believe you are a victim of abuse. Remember reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength, and love of self that will aid in recovery, mend the bruises, build a positive mind soil and self esteem.