Women and violence… a timeless subject of discussion and a lot of controversy. Despite the fact that we would all like to believe that a woman’s position in society has changed much from since 50 years ago, its still not in any appropriate and acceptable standard. Women are still being abused all around the world, in some societies more than others, in some cultures harsher than in some others.
You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with scars. But, the scars of emotional abuse are very real, and they run deep. In fact, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse—sometimes even more so.
Women are still the target of abuse, whether it has to do with racial, cultural or ethnic discrimination or with all of those at the same time. In other cases, they are just being abused for being women, or weak, or just because their self-esteem is so low that their abusers know that they will just get away with it.
Thankfully, through today’s technology and the World Wide Web, there is a lot of useful information out there on domestic violence and abuse and it has become easier for women to seek help.
In this article, I will try to examine domestic violence and abuse in simple terms and I will be providing some useful links and telephone numbers at the end of it.
What is abuse and what is domestic violence?
Let’s start by concentrating on the basics that really make the difference. We all know that women are also capable of domestic violence but since this website is devoted to women lets take things from our point of view, for now.
First of all, what we mean when we talk about abuse? It is a very used up word nowadays and I have noticed that sometimes it loses its meaning with either too much repetition or when it is used inappropriately. According to Wikipedia:
Abuse is the improper usage or treatment of an entity, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can come in many forms, such as: physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, sexual assault, violation, rape, unjust practices; wrongful practice or custom; offense; crime, or otherwise verbal aggression
So, in other words, almost all inappropriate or damaging behavior towards others could be classified as abuse. That is one of the most important notions in domestic abuse that women usually tend to misdiagnose or not pay too much attention to.
Name calling, verbally humiliating, putting someone down, IS verbal abuse and SHOULD NOT be accepted in any form and from no one. While verbal abuse is sometimes hard to distinguish, physical abuse. on the other hand, is very clear and it is done in a very calculating way. I have talked to many women who honestly believe that when we talk about domestic abuse we only mean physical abuse. Domestic abuse includes sexual abuse, verbal aggression, offensive repetitive behavior and verbal maltreatment.
Women should not live in fear of the one they love
Domestic violence or abuse does not distinguish between different age groups, racial or cultural background, heterosexual or same-sex couples or even economic levels. The abuser has only one purpose and that is to gain total control over you. He won’t play fair and he will use fear, guilt, intimidation and shame to wear you down emotionally and psychologically and keep you under his control. Domestic abuse and/or violence will damage you and those around you.
No woman deserves to be abused in any manner, no matter what the abuser will make you or have you believe. It is all part of his master plan to make you feel down, devalued, unappreciated, disrespected and bring about to your feelings of self-pity, feeling useless, have low or no self-esteem and self-worth.
How do I know if I am in an abusive relationship?
This first crucial step of being able to spot abuse in your own relationship is the beginning of a long and difficult path to getting help.
It is in our nature, as women, to be more tolerant. We usually are the ones doing the most understanding, making more sacrifices, compromise more! To be honest, and we all know that, this is not such a bad thing. We do compromise more but that is not such a big deal, it’s part of our DNA, it is part of who we are. However, compromising does in no circumstance, mean ‘accepting abuse’.
Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step towards breaking free is recognizing that your situation is indeed abusive.
“No woman should have to endure the pain that domestic abuse brings. We all deserve to be respected, our efforts recognized and being treated equally.”
Once you acknowledge the reality of your abusive relationship, then you can get the help you need. Simply answer the questions and statements below to help you understand if you are a victim of abuse.
- Feel afraid of your partner most of the time?
- Avoid certain topics of discussion in fear of making him angry?
- Feel emotionally weak and helpless?
- Ever think that you deserve to be treated in a bad way and being hurt?
- Have feelings of anxiety, depression, and agitation?
- Believe that you are the one responsible for this abuse?
- Have feelings of hopelessness and despair that you will never be able to escape your partner’s control?
- Suffer from constant headaches, backaches, and inability to sleep?
DOES YOUR PARTNER
- Blame you for their own abusive behavior?
- Always put you down, criticize and yell at you?
- Keep you from seeing your family and friends?
- Humiliate you and mistreat you so badly that you are embarrassed for your family and friends to see?
- Has a bad and unpredictable temper?
- Control where you go and what you do?
- Force you to have sex?
- Threaten to kill or hurt you or/and your children?
- Threaten to kill himself if you leave?
- Act jealous and very possessive?
- Limit your access to the car, money or the phone?
The list could be much longer and include more things, here I just noted the most important ones.
An abuser will do everything he or she can to make you feel bad about yourself or defective in some way. After all, if you believe you’re worthless and that no one else will want you, you’re less likely to leave.
Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless.
Many years ago, I always used to wonder why women who are in abusive relationships of any kind, can’t they just get up and walk away? Yet, there are thousands of cases of abusive women who do nothing about it and they continue to stay in that abusing environment, often even excusing their partners’ behavior. Only when I had a real life contact with many such women did I finally understand. And if you are one of those women who are or has been part of such situation you know what I am talking about.
Being abused once is not easy. Being a victim of systematic abuse is even harder. The abuser’s weapon is to bring you down to a level that you don’t believe you are capable of anything good. By the time he completes his abusive ‘plan’ you will be in no mental or emotional state to even try to do anything about it.
You might believe you are to blame or maybe he is too stressed from work and is taking it out on you or even ‘it happened only once, he apologized so its over’. Unfortunately, it is far from over and women around the world should comprehend that. Leaving an abusive relationship is very difficult and sometimes even seems impossible.
Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse. They don’t insult, threaten, or assault everyone in their life who gives them grief. Usually, they save their abuse for the people closest to them, the ones they claim to love
If you suspect that you are being a victim of any form of abuse the safest thing to do is to immediately leave that relationship. However, all of us, health professionals, know how difficult that is. There are many hotlines available for you to contact and they are listed here alongside some very useful websites.
Need2talk-here2listen – 01924 302552 or 3025554 – free, local, confidential counseling service for 13 to 19-year-old offering support for a whole range of issues such as sexual health, relationships, family issues, drugs, bullying, alcohol and more
Ask Brook – 0808 802 1234 or visit the website – confidential helpline for young people aged 25 and under
ChildLine – 0800 11 11 or visit the website – helpline for anyone aged 18 and under – counselors can talk to you about any problem
STAR (Surviving Trauma After Rape) – call 01924 298954 or visit the website.- offers free, confidential, emotional and practical support for anyone aged 14+ who has been raped or sexually assaulted. You don’t have to have reported the offense to the police to be able to use the service
Respect – 0845 122 8609 or visit the website– offers information and advice to those being abused and those behaving in an abusive way
Samaritans – 01924 377011 – 24/7 confidential, emotional support advice line for those in distress or despair
Women’s Aid – 0808 2000 247 or visit the website – a free 24/7 domestic violence helpline run in partnership with Refuge alongside a network of over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the UK
In the US: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
- UK: call Women’s Aid at 0808 2000 247.
Australia: call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732.
Worldwide: visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of helplines and crisis centers.
SPEAK UP! WOMEN SHOULDN’T HAVE TO LIVE IN FEAR
Do you have your own personal story you would like to share? We’d love to hear from you!