When we imagine domestic violence, we may imagine a woman with black eyes or swollen cheeks.
- Society stereotypes tend to minimize the total picture of abuse and make it hard on victims to justify leaving.
- Men can be the victim of domestic violence as well. This can be an extra area of shame for men in this situation as our society gives more credence/ sympathy to a woman in an abusive relationship.
- The frequency of occurrence is minimized by physical abuse seen as the criteria for a violent relationship
Many times, when we think of a domestic violence relationship we think of being beaten or punched. While that is true that people are often physically hit/ injured in an abusive relationship, that is not the only situation where a relationship would be considered abusive. However, things such as pushing, physical restraint, being slapped or even the threat of any of the above are all included within the criteria of physical abuse.
There are many other boundaries that are crossed that would make the relationship fit the criteria of abusive or to be in the category of domestic violence.
Let’s talk about a few other areas:
- Verbal Abuse. Within this realm are where the abuser tears your self-esteem down, lowers your self-confidence, telling you you are not worth much. Some examples might be to talk about your looks, your intelligence or your overall value.
- Financial control. Managing the money and not allowing easy access without asking for permission or assistance in getting it.
- Sexual abuse. Yes, in marriage or dating there can still be rape. This occurs any time you are pressured, manipulated, forced or threatened into sex or a sexual act.
- Isolation. In this type, your partner may manipulate, pressure or not allow you to have contact with those who would be otherwise be supportive of you by stating they are not a good influence on you or because that person does not like your mate or maybe even proves to turn you against your partner.
- Control. The area that is one of the most defining criteria for a domestic violence situation would be the issue of control. Control issues in fact, may be the one initial red flag that can be the indicator of possible future abusive relationship. Control issues may be seen in simple areas like too freely giving an opinion on your style of dress, commenting about where you spend your money or time.
Do you know your rights in a relationship? If you or anyone you know, may be in an abusive situation, here are some contacts that could be helpful:
1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.
By: Julie Weaver, MA, LPC