WHAT IS WOMEN ABUSE?
Common question isn’t is, what is women abuse? 98% of the women population suffers from abuse and mind you abuse does not need to be physically but through psychological or sexual force, actual, threatened abuse, mental harm including threats of such acts, coercion/deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. Abuse against women occurs in families of all socio-economic, educational and cultural backgrounds. AND this act of violence can be found in both rural and urban settings. Women in lesbian relationships can also be at risk for abuse. This kind of abuse may also be called “gender-based violence” or “gender-based abuse”.
Women who are abused are often afraid to speak up and voice out their concerns, let alone seek the help that they need. In my experience working closely with women who were abused, most of them are afraid to leave the relationship and sometimes stay with the abuser out of fear. Many times they are afraid to leave the financial security of the relationship because of their children. They might even refuse the help and advice of friends for fear that the abuser will find out and become even more violent.
THE MANIPULATIVE GAMES OF ABUSE:
Woman abuse is not subjected and limited to one act. It is a pattern of behaviour, involving a number of tactics. When it happens in an intimate relationship, the abuse usually follows a pattern and could get serious over time.
The most recognisable form of abuse – Physical abuse. It can range from a slap or to a black eye, cut lip, or broken bone. In the most extreme cases it can result in death. Physical abuse doesn’t always leave visible marks or scars. Having your hair pulled or using a weapon or other objects to threaten, hurt or kill you, abducting a woman or keeping her imprisoned!
Don’t underestimate what is happening to you. Over time the violence usually gets worse.
Next, while physical abuse leaves a scar on your body this is an abusive act without being abused. Sometimes they’re not sure if what is happening to them is domestic violence. They worry that no-one will take them seriously if they talk about it. If you alter your behaviour because you are frightened of how your partner will react, you are being abused. Emotional abuse is an attack on your personality rather than your body.
Emotional abuse can be just as harmful as physical abuse. It often leads to physical violence over time.
Your partner should not use force or threats to make you have sex. He should not make you perform sexual acts with which you are uncomfortable. He should not criticise your performance or force you watch and take part in pornography or forcing you into prostitution or touching or acting in any way that you DO NOT WANT.
If he does any of the above, he is using sex to assert his authority and control you.
One of the most powerful ways a man can control his partner is by using financial abuse.
There are many different forms of financial abuse, but it might include things like your partner taking your money, stopping you from working, placing all the bills or debts in your name, or monitoring how you spend money and other financial resources e.g. the telephone.
If you feel that your partner is limiting your financial independence, you are experiencing financial abuse.
Many women say that they think psychological abuse is worse than physical abuse because it makes them feel humiliated and they lose their self-confidence. It can be difficult to explain psychological abuse to other people because there are no physical signs of it and the impact of it can last long after the abuse has ended. Psychological or emotional abuse includes:
- verbal aggression/abuse including insulting a woman
- belittling a woman through name-calling or descriptions such as “stupid,” “crazy”, “irrational” or “ugly”
- controlling a woman’s actions, time, dress, hairstyle, etc.
- forcing a woman to do degrading things (e.g. eating cigarette butts or licking the floor)
- engaging in deliberately threatening behaviours (e.g. driving dangerously)
- threatening to harm or kill children, other family members, pets
- threatening to have the woman put in an institution
- threatening to commit suicide
- denying affection or personal care
- taking away a woman’s mobility device, medication, hearing aids, or guide dog
- leaving a woman without transportation or any means of communication, especially in isolated or rural communities
- attacking a woman’s self-esteem in other ways
Some abusers use a woman’s spiritual or religious beliefs to control her. This could include:
- punishing or ridiculing a woman for her religious beliefs
- preventing a woman from practicing her religious beliefs
- forcing a woman to practice certain beliefs and engage in rituals
- putting down or attacking her spiritual beliefs
- preventing a woman from going to church, synagogue, temple or other religious institution of her choice
- forcing a woman to join and/or stay in a cult
This list may help you to identify whether you are experiencing domestic violence:
- Are you afraid of your partner?
- Do you feel isolated? Does he cut you off from family and friends?
- Is he jealous and possessive?
- Does he humiliate or insult you?
- Does he verbally abuse you?
- Does he say you are useless and couldn’t cope without him?
- Does he physically hurt you? Does he shove, slap, punch or kick you?
- Has he threatened to hurt you or people close to you?
- Does he constantly criticise you?
- Does he have sudden changes of mood which dominate the household?
- Is he charming one minute and abusive the next?
- Does he control your money?
- Do you change your behaviour to avoid triggering an attack?
- Are you unsure of your own judgement?
- Does he damage your possessions?
- Does he smash up the furniture?
- Does he threaten to harm or kill the pets?
- Does he threaten to kidnap or get custody of the children?
- Does he drive fast because he knows it scares you?
- Does he lock you out of the house during an argument?
- Does he tell you what to wear or how to do your hair?
Abuse is so real. The pain, agony and scar it leaves behind is a lifetime mark. Being able to work closely with women who are abused I’ve seen the struggle, if you know a family or a friend who is going through such, extend your help before it’s too late.
Inspire HOPE – Be a Voice. Speak up against Domestic Violence.
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