Domestic Abuse isn’t just physical and batterers use various tactics to control their victims. Regardless of what form domestic abuse takes, it has damaging effects on the victims. The four main types of domestic abuse include physical, sexual, emotional and financial. Using these various forms at various times the abuser manipulates and controls the victim leaving the victim helpless.
Physical Abuse: Physical Abuse by definition is an act of another party involving contact intended to cause feelings of physical pain, injury or other physical suffering or bodily harm. In the case of domestic violence, it can include hitting, shoving, grabbing, shaking, burning, pulling hair, arm twisting or even assaulting the victim with a weapon. The abuser may throw objects at the victim. Physical abuse isn’t only limited to the intimate partner in cases of domestic violence. The abuser may inflict injury upon children, pets, and even family or friends of the victim.
Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse by definition is causing another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act by force or threat. In the case of domestic violence, sexual abuse can include expecting the abuser to have sex after an abusive incident, criticizing the victim’s appearance and sexual performance, withholding sex as punishment and minimizing the partner’s needs. It can also include forcing sexual actions on the partner without consent, crossing the partner’s sexual boundaries, treating the partner as a sexual object, preventing the partner’s use of contraceptives or forcing abortion.
Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse by definition is any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity and self-worth. In the case of domestic violence, emotional abuse can include insulting the victim constantly by calling them names, yelling at them, criticizing them, mocking them, humiliating them, blaming them for everything and continually threatening them.
Financial Abuse: Financial abuse by definition is when the abuser tells the victim what the victim can and cannot buy or requiring the victim to share control of her bank accounts. This may be the case in domestic violence situations, however there is more that takes place. The victim becomes very financially dependent on her abuser. The abuser tends to stop her from working or getting an education or jeopardizes the partner’s employment through manipulative tactics. The abuser may also take away credit cards, money or checkbooks, giving them very limited allowance. The abuser may also the victim accountable for every penny spent.
Too often when people think of domestic abuse, an image of the abuser battering the victims comes in their heads. However, domestic abuse is much more complicated and it entails other types of abuse which leave the victims feeling helpless and alone. Using knowledge, and understanding just how complicated domestic violence can be, is the very first step to helping those in need.