Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The reality of Abuse

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

13 comments:

Silverfiddle said...

I teach my kids to pay attention to the behavior of others. Is a friend controlling, manipulative or sometimes violent or coercive? Run away. Life is too short.

Girls, and boys too need to be taught that someone who loves you will not act that way towards you, and behavior like that will only get worse the more you get involved with them.

Amy said...

child abuse is more common here than spousal abuse, nz's rate on this is shocking.

Leticia said...

Silver, I am trying to teach my boys the same thing. Right now, one of them is being bullied. And I told him, usually bullies are bullied at home so they take it out on others at school. Still working on my kid, so I can tell the school.

Aimz, that's horrible, my gosh!

Right Truth said...

I think the emotional abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, and sexual abuse are all worse than the physical abuse. Physical abuse can sometimes be seen by others, unless the abused is able to keep the marks covered.

Emotional and psychological abuse is different, hurts more than the physical body, the mind, the heart, the soul, the psyche.

Debbie
Right Truth
http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

Jersey McJones said...

Democrats and Liberals will continue to work to fight against abuse.

JMJ

Leticia said...

Debbie, yes, physical scars heal, but it is the emotional scars that could last a lifetime.

Jersey, this is not a political post, this is about personal responsibility. It shouldn't matter what party a person represents. It's about protecting and helping the victims of abuse.

Anonymous said...

Leticia,

A good item and very important subject. Probably a third of my work in the legal field has been in regards to domestic violence and child abuse in particular. Having been in this domain for more than 30 years the reality is a sad saga that it has diminished only slightly during that period (in the UK spouse abuse by about 4 per cent and child abuse by 14 per cent and it goes across social and racial spectrums).

Unfortunately the best weapon has been pointing fingers and shock of events rather than simple education. We often feel that the changes has to do more with not being able to get away with it than it simply being the horrible and dispicable actions of people.

One of my first memories of spouse abuse was as a trainee in the city of Portsmouth. A lady and her young daughter camped outside the office and asked what could be done. Our firm's Principle got her a cup of tea and basically told her that "men can be stressed, be sure he is regretting it and just kill him and make him a nice dinner". She was beaten to death that night.

It is in her memory that I promissed to concentrate on social justice and have done so ever since. Her name was Meg.

Damien Charles

Anonymous said...

erratum,

"men can be stressed, be sure he is regretting it and just kiss him and make him a nice dinner".

I know my eyes are bad and fingers are fat but out of all the words to misspell.....

DC

Always On Watch said...

Years ago, one of my colleagues at work was abused by her husband over a quite a period of time. She came to work with black eyes, busted lips, broken fingers -- you name it.

And, still, she staying with him.

Until one day, a few other teachers, including myself, took her out to dinner and had a long talk with her. It took a lot, but we managed to convince her that the abuse she was suffering was not her fault, not what she deserved because she was somehow offending her husband (on one occasion, by serving eggs instead of cereal for breakfast -- I kid you not! That's what he said and what she believed!).

The abuse continued to escalate, of course, until that day that her husband tried to hold the entire school hostage when she refused to come outside for him to beat up on her on the school grounds.

At that point, the director of the school called the police. The abuser fled, of course, but the court hearings were a long way off.

So, my friend decided that the best thing to do was to disappear. And she did! I helped her to hide in a place that her husband knew nothing about. In a few days, she quit her job as a teacher and took a job as a truck driver. staying on the move for years -- until finally she divorced the jerk.

Still, he never served one minute of jail time for what he did. Oh, no! The court consigned him to probation and counseling. Of course, it wasn't long until he had another woman on his arm.

I've lost track of the jerk. He did threaten me over the phone one time. I told him, "Sure. Come on over here. I'll shoot you dead before you ever get through the door."

He never showed.

Abusers such as the jerk I'm describing are con men, predators, and cowards.

My friend's story does have a wonderful ending for her, though. While a truck driver, she met a wonderful man. They've now been happily married for years, and he treats her with the respect and the love she deserved for a long time but wasn't getting.

Leticia said...

DC, my gosh that is so horrible!! So many women go back and end up dead. I am glad that you are helping as many as you can, they need it so desperately. They feel so alone and helpless.

AOW, if only all women had those kind of endings. Good for her!

Mike said...

It is appalling when children are the ones being maltreated especially by their own parents. Children are usually the target because they are helpless and would least likely tell other people that they are being abused at home. I also agree that children are affected by spousal abuse because what they witness causes fear and maybe even depression. Their innocence makes it hard for them to understand certain circumstances especially when they are told by their parents that “everything’s okay”, and not to tell anyone.

Mike Clark

Deana Varney said...

It is unbearable when the children are caught between spousal arguments and abuse because it affects them differently witnessing something like that as they grow older. Domestic violence is something that shouldn’t be tolerated and it is best to protect the rights and safety of the abused. I hope that people will have the courage to fight back from these abusers and be served justice.

Deana Varney

Erminia Cavins said...

Abusing people is one way of disabling them. You’re limiting their capabilities to live freely and socialize freely. This way of hurting a person must be stopped so that we can have a productive community. When you really can’t stop a person from abusing you, it’s time for you to take legal actions and seek the help of professionals in dealing with your problem.

-Erminia Cavins-