Domestic abuse has more than one face and it’s not exclusively restricted to physical abuse. An abusive partner may engage in other types of less obvious abuse. These types of abuse a particularly harmful, causing deep and lasting emotional scars.
Emotional and Verbal Abuse: he will berate her in front of her children and others, often disguised as a joke, “I didn’t marry her for her brains.”
She’s so used to being put down that she comes to accept and believe his insults. He treats her like a child, controlling everything from how she wears her hair to the food he allows her to eat. All the while, she must remain compliant and cater to his needs.
Isolation: her abuser ensures she is cut off from close friendships. An acquaintance is less likely to get involved than a sister or best friend. He may even get a job transfer, away from her family so her support system is out of reach.
Often, she is not allowed to work outside the home. This keeps her financially dependant on him and less of a flight risk. “That’s why you’re so lucky to have me, “He tells her. “You couldn’t get a decent job to save your life!”
Threats and Intimidation: he uses threats and intimidation to make her believe she would be risking her life to leave. When she becomes skittish and easily frightened, he feels powerful.
He stops at nothing to keep her compliant. “If you leave me, you’ll never see your kids again. Any judge can see that you’re too emotionally unstable to raise these kids.”
Sexual Abuse: It is never appropriate for a husband to force sexual intercourse. Sexual abuse is degrading or violent sexual behavior. A spouse does not have right to force or coerce acts that are uncomfortable or immoral. This type of abuse is rarely reported because the victims feel so ashamed.
Sadly, domestic abuse does not magically disappear and it has a scary way of escalating. If you are a victim of domestic violence, don’t delay. Get help now before it’s too late. Call the Domestic Abuse Hotline or contact a trusted counselor for help. The first step is the hardest.
*Please note that for the purposes of this article, I used a male as the abuser. It is important to note that 25% of domestic violence is perpetrated by women.