Domestic violence (closely related to domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence and intimate partner violence) is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic context, such as in marriage
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. Domestic violence often occurs because the perpetrator believes that abuse is justified and acceptable, and may produce intergenerational cycles of abuse and cultural systems that condone violence.
Victims of domestic violence may be trapped in domestic violent situations through isolation, power and control, insufficient financial resources, fear, shame or to protect children. As a result of abuse, victims may experience physical disabilities, chronic health problems, mental illness, limited finances, and poor ability to create healthy relationships. Victims may experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Children who live in a household with violence may continue the legacy of abuse when they reach adulthood. Domestic violence often happens in the context of forced and child marriage.
Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, battery), or threats thereof (verbal abuse); sexual abuse; emotional abuse- controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation. It can also mean endangerment, criminal coercion, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, trespassing, and harassment.
Physical abuse is abuse involving contact intended to cause pain, injury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm. It includes hitting, slapping, punching, choking, pushing, burning and other types of contact that result in physical injury to the victim. Acid attacks, also seen in domestic violence, occur when acid is thrown in anger or vengeance at the victims, usually at their faces, burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones. This can result in long term blindness and permanent scarring of the face and body. Denying the victim needed medical care, depriving them of sleep or other necessary functions, forcing the victim to engage in drug or alcohol use against their will, or creating any physical harm are forms of physical abuse. It can also include inflicting physical injury onto other targets, such as children or pets, in order to cause emotional harm to the victim.
Sexual violence, or sexual abuse, is defined by World Health Organization as any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim. It also includes female genital mutilation. Aside from initiation of the sexual act through physical force, sexual abuse occurs if a person is unable to understand the nature or condition of the act, unable to decline participation, or unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in the sexual act. This could be because of underage immaturity, illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or due to intimidation or pressure.
Sexual abuse in the family can take the form of incest between an adult and a child, which is a form of child sexual abuse.
Reproductive coercion (also called “coerced reproduction”) are threats or acts of violence against a partner’s reproductive rights, health and decision- making; and includes a collection of behaviours intended to pressure or coerce a partner into becoming a parent or ending a pregnancy. Reproductive coercion is associated with forced sex, fear or inability of negotiating condom and contraceptive use, fear of violence after refusing sex, and abusive partner interference with access to healthcare.
Marital rape is non consensual sexual intercourse or penetration perpetrated by a person against his or spouse. Marital rape may be experienced through patterns of physical abuse, force, or demeaning sexual behaviour by the perpetrator.
Emotional abuse (also called psychological abuse or mental abuse) can include verbal abuse and is defined as any behavior that threatens, intimidates, undermines the victim’s self-worth or self-esteem, or controls the victim’s freedom. According to the Istanbul Convention, psychological violence is “the intentional conduct of seriously impairing a person’s psychological integrity through coercion or threats”. This can include threatening the victim with injury or harm, telling the victim that they will be killed if they ever leave the relationship, isolating them from others, and public humiliation. Controlling behavior includes monitoring the victim’s movements, or restricting their access to financial resources, employment, education or medical care. Constant criticism, devaluing statements, and name-calling are emotionally abuse behaviours. Emotional abuse may include conflicting actions or statements which are designed to confuse and create insecurity in the victim. These behaviours also lead the victims to question themselves, causing them to believe that they are making up the abuse or that the abuse is their fault.
People who are being emotionally abused may feel that their significant other has nearly total control over them. Isolation damages the victim’s sense of internal strength, leaving them feeling helpless and unable to escape from the situation. Victims often suffer from depression, which puts them at increased risk for suicide, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Verbal abuse is a form of emotionally abusive behaviour involving the use of language, which can involve threats, name-calling, blaming, ridicule, disrespect, and criticism. Less obviously aggressive forms of verbal abuse include statements that may seem benign on the surface that are thinly veiled attempts to humiliate, falsely accuse, or manipulate others to submit to undesirable behavior, make others feel unwanted and unloved, threaten others economically, or isolate victims from support systems.
Economic abuse is a form of abuse when one intimate partner has control over the other partner’s access to economic resources. Economic abuse may involve preventing a spouse from resource acquisition, limiting the amount of resources to use by the victim, or by exploiting economic resources of the victim. The motive behind preventing a spouse from acquiring resources is to diminish victim’s capacity to support his/ herself, thus forcing him her to depend on the perpetrator financially, which includes preventing the victim from obtaining education, finding employment, maintaining or advancing their careers, and acquiring assets.
In addition, the abuser may also put the victim on an allowance, closely monitor how the victim spends money, spend victim’s money without his/her consent and creating debt, or completely spend victim’s savings to limit available resources.
A woman/man who has been (or is being) abused should seek help from women/men support groups against domestic violence. If action is not taken to stop the abuse, it will continue and may lead to severe damage to the woman or even lead to death. Wisdom is profitable to direct.
We need you alive!
P. S. I pray that God will touch the hearts of all violent people in marriages so that they can repent of their evil ways and love their partners like they should.