Many people often associate the phrase “domestic violence” with physical abuse. Once a person claims to be a victim of domestic violence, we readily conjure up images of that individual being on the receiving end of slaps, punches and other forms of physical abuse.
While it’s true that physical violence is directly related to domestic violence, it’s just one form of abuse, albeit the best-known and most tangible. There are other forms of domestic violence that you should be aware of, all of which affect people from all walks of life. The perpetrator of domestic violence will often be arrested and prosecuted, and could be subject to significant jail time. The victim of domestic violence will sometimes retain an attorney for restraining orders or even to sue for money damages.
Physical abuse, the most common form of domestic violence
Apart from slapping and punching, other unwanted physical contact such as biting, strangling, kicking, hair-pulling, shoving, hitting with an object and pinching constitute physical abuse. It’s also physical violence when someone grabs your clothing, restrains you in whatever way or bodily makes you do something or go somewhere against your will. And these acts don’t have to hurt or leave a mark to be construed as physically abusive behavior.
Physical abuse is also not limited to actual physical contact. The withholding of physical needs such as food, sleep and medicine also qualifies as physical abuse.
A person who gets threats of harm, intimidation, and isolation thrown their way on a regular basis is a victim of psychological abuse. The threats could be of physical harm to the victim, or of actual harm to the victim’s property and even pets. A psychologically abusive relationship could also manifest in the way the abuser tries to control every aspect of the victim’s life.
In a domestic situation, sexual abuse has a rather broad interpretation. Aside from rape and coercing sexual contact, sexual abuse in a domestic setting could also include sexual harassment, forcing the person to have sex with others, or any other physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct that is sexual in nature. There is even a sub-category of sexual abuse called reproductive coercion, where a woman is pressed to have an abortion or not to use contraceptives.
A man, woman or child who is the target of unrelenting criticism, insults, name-calling and humiliation within the household could be considered a victim of emotional abuse. In the process, the victim’s sense of self-worth is severely diminished and in many cases, destroyed. The thing about emotional abuse is that many perceive it to be quite common in unhealthy relationships, right to the point where building a domestic violence case around it can prove to be tricky. More often than not, domestic violence action has to combine emotional abuse with other types of abuse to craft a case.
Economic or financial abuse
Limiting the victim’s access to financial resources can be construed as economic or financial abuse. This could include withholding money or credit card use, demanding pay checks be turned over, causing the victim to suffer job loss, openly blocking the aggrieved party from getting work, and forcing the person to work. Diverting the money for necessities like groceries to non-essentials like alcohol, drugs or personal hobbies could also be considered financial abuse.
Spiritual abuse comes in many different forms. It could be forcing one’s religion on an intimate partner or spouse. Stopping any member of the household to practice her or his religious or spiritual beliefs also qualifies as spiritual abuse. One can also claim this type of abuse if he or she gets ridiculed for the things he or she believes in. In some cases, one parent raises children in a religion or faith without the consent of the partner or spouse.
Most cases of domestic violence are unreported, probably because those who suffer from it have no idea that what they’re going through qualifies as such. This is why it’s important to spread awareness about the other forms of domestic violence so that victims can finally take action and get some measure of justice for themselves. There are also ways to get help.
Domestic violence is a serious problem in our society. If you are arrested for domestic violence or are a victim, you should talk to a lawyer about your rights and how to seek help. Those arrested for domestic violence need a good defense attorney to try to keep them out of jail. Courts take these cases very seriously.
The best way not to get arrested for domestic violence is to always treat your partner with respect and dignity. Stay away from physical and emotional abuse. Your life will be happier and more fulfilling if you can avoid the court system altogether.
This is a guest post edited only for grammar by Jay Leiderman. Jay Leiderman is not responsible for the content.