Domestic abuse can be life-altering and have devastating consequences both for the relationship and the victim’s mental and physical health. Here is all you need to know about domestic abuse and how to seek help.
Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their functioning.
1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Given the current pandemic situation, several couples are sheltering together, and due to the increased physical contact with one another, they may experience increased tension and violence in their relationship, especially if they already had a complicated relationship with their partners.
The induced quarantine effect has forced many victims of domestic abuse to stay in close proximity with their abuser for longer durations, which triggers more abuse.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy/ CBT is an important technique that identifies behavioral issues and links them to their root causes before chalking up a customized case-specific treatment plan. If domestic abuse is detected at a nascent stage, it still might not be too late to give your relationship a second chance. Remember that justifying the abuse or suffering silently is not the solution, but seeking help is a constructive approach.
Often the meaning of domestic abuse is interpreted as “domestic violence.” However, much lasting damage to the self-worth of the victim is done by decidedly non-violent ways. The use of fear, shame, intimidation, guilt is common in mental abuse. Often passive tools like a sense of superiority, sarcasm, and emotional coldness form a part of abuse. More women indeed experience abuse than men, but men are also victims (often silent ones).
Abusive behavior, whether physical or mental, is totally unacceptable whether a man/woman/teenager engages in it as the victim has the fundamental right to be respected and feel safe and valued.
Often the victim becomes so used to the abuse that he or she becomes unable to distinguish the abuse as wrong. This is especially true in cases of non-violent domestic abuse. You can find out if you or a loved one is the victim of domestic abuse by a few prominent signs. If you find that you have to watch your tongue in front of your partner regularly and there are frequent and disproportionate blowups, then there is a fair chance that the relationship is abusive.
If you notice yourself or a loved one feeling self-deprecatory, desperate, and helpless, then it’s a sure sign that something is wrong in your relationship and its most probably domestic abuse. If you are scared of your partner most of the time and feel numb emotionally or believe that you deserve the mistreatment, then it’s probably a case of abuse. If your partner is yelling a lot, humiliating you, criticizing you, ignoring you, or treating you as an object, then those are signs of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse also includes economic abuse where one partner rigidly controls finances, withholds money, restricts allowances, prevents the victim from working, steals money, and endangers the other person’s job.
At the preliminary stage, domestic abuse can be resolved if both partners willingly recognize this problem and seek help from a trained professional. As the abuse escalates, an abusive partner may try to hurt/threaten/ perform marital rape/ destroy belongings/ take away kids, and you must know that these are behaviors that deserve to be reported and subjected to official action.
Many victims believe that their abuser is just an example of “bad temper” or “flies off the handle easily” when, in reality, abusive behavior is a choice. The abuser seeks control over the victim and tries to manipulate by dominance. This is when one partner tries to make all decisions for the other partner. Humiliation is another technique where one partner will do a lot to lower the other partner’s self-worth and make him/her feel worthless.
Isolation is yet another technique where the abuser tries to cut off the victim from the outer world. Issuing threats/ intimidation is a prevalent technique where one partner threatens to either hurt the other partner or commit suicide and file a false charge.
Most abusers have seen abusive relationships themselves in their childhood and tend to exhibit recurring patterns. They make excuses citing their personal history and minimize the abuse impact. Abusers also tend to shift the responsibility of their behavior to the victim. It is because abusers carefully choose their victims they may outwardly pretend (especially in public) that everything is fine. It’s important not to justify the abuser and stand up for the victim whenever you identify a case of domestic abuse.
Understanding and acknowledging that you are a victim is the biggest challenge. However, ignorance will do more harm than good, especially in current situations. Seek professional help and ensure your well-being. Life is a gift and too precious to be wasted for domestic abuse.
So, go ahead and speak up!