How does this picture make you feel? It's a horrid and sad reality that many children and women and yep, even men are abused and it is still a topic that no one wants to speak about.
Why is that? Why won't people get involved? Do you believe it is not your place to step in? Do you feel that someone else will step in and help? Call the police let them handle it?
We need to get involved and we need to stop the circle of violence.
Below is from a very interesting article, pay special and close attention to what the children endure if they are not being abused but are witnesses to the abuse.
It is long, but please read it. It could save a life or lives.
Spousal abuse goes much further than physical beatings. The crushing of a spirit with emotional abuse is just as damaging if not moreso.
The statistics are frightening and despite a push for education, the problem of spousal abuse does not seem to be improving. There are facts of which everyone is aware, but other facts are relatively unknown.
Women, although in the majority, are not the only victims of physical or emotional abuse. Many men are abused in the same way by a spouse or partner and generally overlooked or ignored by society due to the stigma. Because of this fact, this article will use references such as "the abuser" or "the partner" and not any gender specific references unless explained.
One thing that needs to be made clear is that "spousal abuse" is NOT limited in any way to physical abuse. There are other abuses that are just as damaging and serious including verbal and emotional abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, and sexual abuse.
Although abusers can come from any background or walk of life, there are some common characteristics that have been found. An abuser often has poor communication skills, wants to control, places blame on other people or factors for the abusive actions, has little control over impulses, and suffers from a low self esteem.
Some signs of abuse are listed here, but this list is in no way inclusive. Some are life threatening, and some just crush the spirit which is very damaging in itself. The important thing to remember is that it is ALL identifiable as abuse.
Describing and recognizing physical abuse is more simple than the other types. Abusers attack the partner and sometimes children. This would include hitting, kicking, slapping, choking, or threatening with a weapon. A victim may have objects thrown at them, be locked out of the house, be physically restrained in some fashion, or blocked from leaving the room or house.
Sexual abuse is not limited to wanting sex by forcing the partner physically or with threats, as some might believe, but can also be things such as criticizing the partner's sexual performance. Rigid sex roles are often demanded, expecting the victim to "serve" the abuser at his or her whim. Sexual abuse can also be defined as sexual activity or sexual touching, grabbing, or groping to which the victim does not consent.
For some reason, many people "overlook" the extremely damaging emotional and psychological abuse. The abuser will say and do things to shame or insult. They will ridicule and mock the victim in private and even in front of others at times. The abuser tells the victim they are ugly, too fat, too skinny, stupid, lazy, etc.
Other mockeries will include things such as saying the victim can not do things correctly, they do not deserve things, no one else would want them, and other insults that fall into this category. This technique, of course, is also used in the abuse of children.
Threats may play a part in abuse as well, such as threats to hurt the victim or the children. An abuser may forbid the victim to work or get out to see friends. There may be accusations of the other party having an affair and they may try to keep the victim from contacting family members and friends. They may destroy or threaten to destroy personal property belonging to the victim.
Other indications of psychological abuse are things like unrealistic expectations, isolating the victim by not wanting to attend social gatherings, complaining about the victim having friends, and blaming others for their problems.
Tight financial control is also frequently prevalent in an abusive relationship. The victim is often allowed only a very small allowance and expected to accept it without question. Humiliation, put-downs, name calling, criticism, screaming at the victim, ignoring the victim... these are all additional things on the list of occurrences that constitute psychological and emotional abuse.
One thing that will often be heard in an abusive relationship is the abuser stating that the victim "made them do it." This, of course, is totally absurd and untrue. Culture is sometimes used as an excuse or justification for abuse in certain situations. The important thing to remember is that there is NO excuse for abuse, so something like "it's the culture in which he/she grew up" is not valid in the least.
During an argument, an abuser will often use threats of violence, or actually become violent by breaking, throwing, or striking objects in an attempt to terrorize the victim.
One very important fact to remember is that abuse is not classified as an argument or disagreement, nor is it an anger management issue. Abuse is the manipulation of control and power that the abuser wants to have over the victim. They control, they manipulate, and they try to intimidate the victim.
While it is rather easy for someone in a non-abusive situation to believe the victim simply has to leave, it is certainly not that simple for the victim. There is a great fear factor, with the realization that leaving could turn the abuser more violent and in some cases deadly when they find out they are no longer in control. The victim faces not only that fear, but things like shame and isolation as well. We need to be careful not to re-victimize the victim by thinking it is as easy as just walking out. Many times imminent financial difficulties are also a factor, and if children are involved, this anxiety increases. These fears are very real to the victim. Leaving an abusive and controlling situation is the most dangerous time for a victim.
Other factors also play a role in a victim's decision to devise a safety plan and leave the situation. If religious beliefs have strong influence on the victim, or divorce is shameful to a family because of those beliefs, the victim will have even more fears of isolation.
Children are always affected when spousal abuse is present. Often the children are themselves abused, but even if not, things such as poor health due to improper nutrition, excessive crying and irritability in infants, sleep disturbances, and problems with digestion, aggressiveness, nightmares, being withdrawn, having low self esteem, ulcers, and headaches could be a problem. These are only a few of the things that can show up in children who witness abuse, whether physical or emotional.
There are some things to remember when dealing with a victim of abuse. First of all, remember that they have been verbally assaulted and might believe the bad things about themselves that they have been hearing. They will be afraid that you will judge them, so be sure to not do that.
It is very important for a victim to be told and to believe that they do not, nor does anyone, deserve to be abused. Convince the victim that help is available, and make sure you know how to assist in finding that help