Domestic violence and abuse is a serious topic and can be hard to discuss. However, it is important that people educate themselves about the matter so that they can learn how to recognize domestic abuse and know how to get help.
While domestic abuse is quite common, knowing what to do in a domestic violence situation, is not unfortunately. Let’s take a look at some of the common forms of domestic violence, and how you can get help for yourself, or a loved one.
- Physical Violence
Physical violence is probably the most commonly known form of domestic abuse, but also one of the most misunderstood as well. When people think of domestic physical violence they tend to think of men beating their wives. While this is unfortunate a common form of domestic violence, there are other forms as well, such as siblings physically harming one another on a regular basis, mothers abusing their children, or even wives assaulting their husbands.
The common component here is that physical violence domestic abuse consists of one person inflicting physical pain on another either without their consent, or in a manner too extreme to be deemed appropriate punishment for a child. In any case, the violence used is needless cruelty.
- Emotional Abuse
Not all domestic violence has to be physical. In many cases individuals who live together will use emotional manipulation and abuse to harm one another. While this form of abuse can be much harder to detect or recognize, it can be just as devastating and lead the victim down a dark path that could involve substance abuse, and end in suicide.
Generally speaking, emotional abuse is characterized by an intentional effort to make another person feel bad one way or another. This could be through constant insults, telling someone they’re not good enough, or simply through repeated criticism with no effort to help the victim improve. Unfortunately, this is one type of abuse in which the abuse may not even realize that they’re hurting the victim.
- Sexual Abuse
While sexual abuse often times leaves no physical evidence that it happened, it can leave psychological scars that last a lifetime. While children are often times the target of sexual abuse within the household, sexual abuse can take other forms as well, such as one partner coercing the other to have sex when they don’t want to, inappropriate touching, unwanted advances, unwanted sexual remarks, and more.
- Psychological Abuse
Perhaps the most common, yet least well defined form of domestic abuse is psychological abuse. This can take many forms such as a spouse being overly controlling, to a child threatening a sibling to keep them quite about their misdeeds. Generally speaking psychological abuse involves threatening, intimidating, and/or causing fear in some way or another. Once again, this is a type of abuse in which the abuser may not know they’re being abusive, and the victim may not realize that they’re being victimized.
How to Get Help if You’re the Victim
Getting help for domestic violence can be a tricky thing since it typically involves dealing with those closest to you. Other barriers are the fact that the victim must have the strength to admit that they are being victimized, and that what the other person is doing is wrong, two things that can be very hard for a person to come to terms with, especially if the victim still loves the abuser.
For the most part, there are two options if you are suffering domestic abuse. The first is to talk to the person who is abusing you and tell them how you feel, and let them know that they need to stop. In some cases this is all it takes, and once the abuser realizes what they’ve done, they’ll stop their abusive behavior. However, sometimes this isn’t enough.
If talking to your abuser isn’t an option because you fear retaliation, or if you tried it and it didn’t work, it’s time to get other people involved. You can talk to a trusted friend or family member, a teacher, a social worker, call Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP or even call the police if you feel that’s necessary. This takes lot of courage, and you may feel like you’re betraying the one abusing you, but it’s something that must be done.
How to Help a Loved One
On the other hand, if someone you know is the victim of domestic abuse, you have several options. If the victim is an adult, you should gauge whether or not to let them work it out, or if you should get involved. Asking the victim if they need help, and what they want you to do never hurts either. However, if the victim’s safety is in question, then you definitely want to tell an authority figure about what’s going on.
The same goes for children. In many cases a child will be completely unable to solve the situation on their own, so telling the authorities is going to be your best bet in that scenario. Even so, you may want to talk to the alleged abuser first just to get a better understanding of what’s going on, and what action you should take. Disrupting a family over a false alarm can be just as traumatic to a child after all.
In any case, if you or a loved one is the victim of domestic violence, you have to do something. It takes courage, and it may seem easier to just ignore it, but in the end you’ll be glad that you put a stop to it. And remember, in situations like these helping yourself, or the victim, is often times the best way to help the abuser as well, one way or another.