These days we hear a lot about domestic violence on the news. Generally the headlines are about man [the perpetrator] assaulting or killing a woman, or children of the relationship [The victim(s)]. Whilst this is clearly a type of domestic violence there are many other forms.
Domestic violence can be actual violence or threats of violence against you, your property or someone you know. Sometimes perpetrators will even threaten to harm or kill themselves to cause fear in their victim. This is also a type of domestic violence.
Generally, domestic violence is about a perpetrator trying to control another person. This can occur slowly and subtly over time; or it can occur from one significant incident where the perpetrator makes his or her intentions very clear.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Domestic violence can take many forms. It can be:
• Sexual (being forced to have sex or participate in sexual activities);
• Emotional (eg constantly putting you down, threatening to hurt you, your children or your pets, making you feel worthless, criticizing your personality, your looks, the way you dress).
• Controlling (eg excessive checking up on you to make sure you are at home or where you said you would be, stalking, phoning you and then hanging up)
• Social (eg being stopped from seeing friends and family, isolating you geographically or socially);
• Causing damage to property
• Stalking or monitoring every move.
o Following, tracking;
o Repeated phone calls, sometimes with hang ups;
o Suddenly showing up where the victim is, at home, school or work;
o Sending unwanted packages, cards, gifts or letters;
o Contacting the victim’s friends, family, co-workers or neighbours and asking questions about the victim;
o Going through the victim’s garbage.
Stalking is unpredictable. It should always be considered dangerous.
• Psychological abuse and “crazy making”.
What is “crazy making”?
The perpetrator can:
o Deny that the abusive behavior occurred;
o Tell the person being abused that they have mental health problems or anxiety disorders;
o Blame the victim being abused for their behavior;
o Deliberately twist realities;
o Move personal belongings or furniture and then deny this has been done (this is called “gas lighting” from the movie “gas light”);
o Make the victim feel that there is no way out of the relationship.
• Financial abuse (controlling the money, not giving the other person enough money to survive on, forcing that person to hand over their money, not letting the victim have a say in how it is spent).
• Cyber stalking. Cyber stalking can be through the internet or email to stalk another person. Cyber stalking is deliberate and persistent. The cyber stalker methodically finds and contacts the victim. The best response to cyber stalking is not to respond to the contact. Cyber stalking is in a grey area in legal terms. Enforcement of stalking laws requires that the victim be directly threatened with an act of violence.
• Spiritual abuse:
o Preventing the partner from practising their religious or spiritual beliefs;
o Ridiculing the other persons religious or spiritual beliefs;
o Forcing the children to be reared in a faith that the partner has not agreed to.
• Legal abuse, such as exploiting the family law system to intimidate, exhaust, exploit or disempower someone.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP?
• Do you feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
• Do you avoid certain topics or spend a lot of time figuring out how to approach that topic so as not to arouse your partner’s anger?
• Are you fearful of your partner a large percentage of the time?
• Do you sometimes wonder if you are the one who is crazy and that you are perhaps overreacting to your partner’s behaviours?
• Were you abused by a child, or did you grow up with domestic violence in the household?
• Does domestic violence seem normal to you?
Remember you are never alone. If you need more information you can be assured all appointments with us are strictly confidential and your safety is our number one concern.
Want more information about the types of domestic violence?
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