What You Should Know About Domestic Physical Abuse
Abuse is Not an Act of Rage
Everywhere we look we see violence - in movies, on the news and in many
of the computer games that we give our children to play with. Its not surprising
then that domestic violence and abuse is often overlooked or excused.
Contrary to what many people think abusive behavior rarely occurs as a
result of the abuser's inability to control his behavior. Abusive
behavior is a deliberate action that the abuser chooses to perform in
order to manipulate and control another person.
- The abuser does not batter other people - he only batters his victim in the privacy of his own home.
- He can stop the abuse if interrupted by a knock on the door or a phone call.
- The abuser directs his hitting and punching to places that can easily be concealed.
Stop The Abuse.........Stop The Insanity
They found her body in a rubbish dump
All mangled and covered in dirt
A lover’s quarrel , one drink too many
Something said that made him hurt
He pleaded insanity is what the newsman said
He was insane – does that make her less dead?
I’m pretty sure she had heard that excuse before
Was that how he tricked her to stay for more?
When he said he was sorry for all the bruises and pain
Did she really believe it would never happen again
Did he say he’d go crazy if she went away
"Temporary insanity" news headlines today
Now she is one more statistic in a police report file
And she'll make news headlines for a little while
But when all is over and people forget she is gone
There will be others who suffer because of this wrong
Not only because "temporary insanity" caused her to die
But because they chose to ignore one more black eye
Accepted last minute cancellations of appointments she made
suspecting it was to hide the punches he had laid
regretting they had not told her what they knew
feeling guilty about something they did not do
They gambled with her life for fear of rejection
Their priority should have been her protection.
For all mothers of daughters in a similar plight
Whatever you do stand up and fight
Or you may hear on the news one day
"Temporary insanity" has taken her away.
- Laura du Toit 2009 -
Denial by the Abused
Many people in an abusive relationship deny that they are being abused.
Many of them don't even want to admit it to themselves and commonly use
the following excuses:-
- It's not nearly as bad as what you see on TV or read about - he just hit out at me or shoved me its not as if he hits me all the time - it could be worse. Physical abuse is never better or worse : No matter how minor it may seem abuse is never excusable, acceptable or normal.
- It only happened once or twice, maybe three times at the most. Studies show that abusers rarely stop abusing someone - in fact invariably the abuse tends to become more frequent and more violent over time.
doesn't assault me if I keep quiet and do what he wants me to. If you
give up your right to make decisions, see your friends and family, go
where you wish then not only is this person guilty of physical abuse he
is now guilty of emotional abuse which could prove to be much more
stressful in the long run.
- He only shouts at me and belittles me - he would never lift his hand to me. Don't be fooled into thinking emotional abuse is any less frightening than physical abuse.
Tactics Used By the Abuser
- Humiliation - Abusers humiliate their victims in order to
lower their self-esteem and make them feel worthless. They believe if
the victim feels worthless they are less likely to leave. They either
insult them, call them names or shame them in public (sometimes a
combination of all of these) to break down their victim's self respect.
- Threats - Abusers often use threats in an attempt to keep their victims from leaving them. These typically can include threatening to kill either the victims or themselves or threaten to cause bodily harm to the victim should they try to leave.
- Isolation - In order to gain complete control over the victim's life an abuser may attempt to isolate them from the outside world. He may try to keep them from visiting their friends and family and will expect to be continuously updated on who they see and who they speak to.
- Control - Abusers dominate their victims as they are control freaks. They make all the decisions on behalf of their victims who are then expected to honor and obey them without any questions. They tend to treat their victims as if they were a possession or a child.
- Intimidation- To scare
their victims into submission abusers may use a variety of intimidation
tactics. These include destroying of property, placing weapons on
display, threatening looks or gestures and hitting or kicking things.
and denial - A bad childhood, a bad day at the office, or the victim
themselves are the most common excuses that abusers give for their
inexcusable behavior. They may even deny that it ever took place or
minimize the abuse. Their favorite tactic is however to shift the blame
on to their victim.
Cycle of Abusive Behavior
The cycle of domestic abuse has a repetitive pattern.
It will start with the abusive partner displaying aggressive, belittling or violent behavior towards the victim. The purpose of this behavior is to demonstrate the dominant role of the abuser in the relationship.
Shortly after the abuse has taken place the abuser will feel guilty , mainly out of fear of having to face consequences for his abusive behavior.
The next step in the cycle is when he attempts to regain control over his victim by either becoming extremely charming or by just pretending the incident never occurred. During this phase many victims fall into the trap of believing the abuser has really changed and that the abuse will stop. Unfortunately this phase tends to last for a shorter period of time in each subsequent cycle and the abuser will eventually start planning his next bout of abuse.
Abusers are known to fantasize about abusing their victims and when the "honeymoon" phase is over they will spend time fabricating reasons for the next attack. They then set their victims up to carry out their premeditated plans by creating a situation in which he can justify abusing their victim.
And so the cycle has gone full circle and starts all over again.
In between episodes the abuser tries to make it as difficult as possible for his victim to leave. He leads the person to believe that they are the only person who understands and can help him and that he has changed. He also leads his victim to believe that he truly loves them and that he could not live without them.
Beware : the dangers of staying are very real and could result in permanent bodily harm or death.
If You Suspect Someone You Know is Being Abused
If you suspect that anyone you know may be a victim of domestic violence take the matter seriously.
Let the person know of your suspicions. This may just be the opportunity that they have been waiting for.
Most victims need someone to speak to but are afraid of rejection and many believe they are to blame and feel ashamed.
that somebody cares and believes in them could give them the courage to
walk away before it is too late.
Statistics - Domestic Violence
- American Bar Association - Commission on Domestic Violence: Key Statistics
Prevalence of Domestic Violence * In a 1995-1996 study conducted in the 50 States and the District of Columbia, nearly 25% of women and 7.6% of men were raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or dati
- Domestic Violence Statistics: Prevalence and Trends ~ FindCounseling.com
The precise incidence of domestic violence in America is difficult to determine for several reasons: it often goes unreported, even on surveys; there is no nationwide organization that gathers information from local police departments about the numbe
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