Domestic Abuse isn’t always physical
By Holly Blume Giller
SPECIAL TO THE POST-REGISTER
Domestic violence is broadly defined as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of a spouse or intimate partner. It is about power and control. The perpetrator/abuser seeks to control his or her partner by any means necessary. Abusers’ minds seem to be warped. By abusing their partner, they “gai
n” the power to do what they want to, the power to keep their partner in line, and the power to project their own self-hate onto another. The reality is that they are destroying people who love them just so they can feel better about themselves.
Physical Abuse is when an abuser uses physical force to cause fear or injury to their partner. Physical abuse can take many forms: hitting, punching, pushing, kicking, shoving, strangling, tripping, drowning, cutting, biting, burning, striking with an object, propelling onto an object, etc. The list of how abusers can abuse their victim is staggering. It only takes one such incident to be considered abuse. Physical abuse is the most easily-recognized form of abuse. Sometimes there is visible physical evidence. But sometimes there isn’t.
Sexual Abuse is non-consensual sexual contact. It can include rape, unwanted touches, using objects without consent, using sex to cause pain or humiliation, name-calling, violent sex acts, refusal to use contraception, deliberately passing on sexual diseases or infections, and sex with a child. It only takes one incident to be considered abuse. Physical evidence may or may not be present.
Emotional abuse is sometimes called verbal, psychological or mental abuse. Abusers use nonphysical means to control their partner. Examples of emotional abuse includes criticism, threats, stalking, intimidation, baiting and bashing, manipulation, gaslighting, lying, blaming, shaming, name-calling, brainwashing, and cyber-bullying, to name a few. Emotional abuse plays on the victim’s sense of right and wrong, guilt, responsibility, and reality. Emotional abuse is about control through distortion. It is about control through fear. When an abuser kicks the family pet, for example, the implied message is that they could hurt your children or you just as easily. When an abuser won’t let you spend your money except on things he/she wants, the implied message is that you are not worth anything. When an abuser points out your flaws and errors, the implied message is that there is something wrong with you, not them. Emotional abuse is different from physical abuse and sexual abuse in that it is repetitive and occurs over time. Many times, the victim isn’t even aware that he/she is being abused. The abuser seeks to make the victim feel crazy. That way, the abuser can appear normal and sane while the victim appears irrational. They don’t want their victims to be believed.
Emotional abuse is part of the different types of abuse. That is what keeps many victims silent. The most important thing to realize about domestic violence is that no victim ever wanted this. They didn’t choose to be abused by someone they loved. If you need help, or if you want to help someone you love, you can call licia Edwards of Victim Services at the Sheriff’s Office at (512) 221-8729 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800)-799-SAFE (7233).