Thursday, July 22, 2010

Domestic Violence Today

So let us continue with a frank discussion about domestic abuse. I recently had my eyes opened to the truth of it all that I had never really understood before. See my previous post for some of the details, but you know, people sometimes don’t really see things until given examples. I took a class last semester called Counseling Women Towards Empowerment. One of the best classes I have had so far since I want to focus on adolescent and teen girls. In this class I met a singular woman who runs a battered woman’s shelter. I have a family member who was abused, so there was some firsthand experience for me. Several women in the class left that day with a changed view of the harsh realities of abuse. One was a police dispatcher who admitted to having shrugged off repeat calls for domestic violence with the typical response. So this will be a series of posts with this first being a descriptor of abuse, and the next being an example led post that illustrates the realities of domestic violence and how things actually occur in our world.

So first let’s talk about abuse. What is it?

Well, what most people think of is this:

“What is Physical Domestic Violence?

Physical domestic abuse is what one usually thinks of first - physical injuries inflicted against the survivor. Physical abuse can include shoving or pushing, hitting, punching, kicking, throwing object, injuring or threatening with a weapon, or physical intimidation. Physical domestic abuse can also include false imprisonment or confinement, like locking someone in a bathroom for an extended period of time. Denying access to medical treatment or necessary medications is another form of physical domestic abuse.”

This is only one type. This is the final stage in an abusive relationship. By the time these things have happened, other types of abuse could have been going on for years or even decades.

I must emphasize this point: Physical abuse does not have to occur for there to be an abusive relationship, but this is the only kind that usually comes to police attention.

“What is Emotional Domestic Violence?

Emotional domestic violence is the most pervasive form of domestic abuse, yet it can be the hardest to recognize. People who experience emotional domestic abuse don’t have outward signs of abuse like victims of physical domestic violence. Emotional domestic abuse is comprised of belittling talk, constant put-downs or criticism, lying and deceit, name-calling, social isolation, controlling behavior, threats of harm to self or others, blame for actions, and guilt. In many cases, an abusive relationship will escalate from emotional abuse to physical abuse. This is not to say, however, that emotional abuse is not serious in its own right; emotional domestic violence can cause long-lasting trauma.”

This type of abuse is often ignored by police when it is reported because there is no “crime”. This is often a first stage in an abusive relationship. Sometimes, this is the only abuse there ever is, and it is often enough to keep control of the partner.

“What is Financial Domestic Violence?

Financial abuse most commonly occurs in tandem with other forms of abuse. It is another way for an abuser to isolate and control a victim. Financial domestic abuse can include stealing money, using someone’s credit without consent, forbidding someone to work, forcing someone to work in a threatening or dangerous job (for instance, forcing someone to sell drugs or do sex work), or forbidding someone access to their own money. If someone is the victim of financial domestic abuse, it can be hard for him/her to leave the abusive situation since s/he can be without any financial resources.”

Often this is another first step. And again, there is mostly no “crime”.

“What is Sexual Domestic Violence?

Sexual domestic violence is any abuse of a sexual nature that occurs within an intimate partner or family relationship. This can include forcing someone to participate in sexual acts against one's will, refusing to have safer sex, infecting someone with a sexually transmitted illness, or exposing someone to materials of a sexual nature without one's consent.”

Rape does occur inside marriages. And it is often covered with the “wifely duties”. Most of the time when women who are being sexually abused are told by friends and family things like, “Just close your eyes and it will be over soon” and “get it over with, you’re the wife after all” and “if you don’t he’ll find someone who will!”

Quoted sections retrieved today from here.

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