Domestic abuse is about control and power, usually a man getting and keeping control and power over a woman. To simplify it, someone who commits domestic abuse is a control freak, and for the sake of argument, we are going to use the pronoun “he.” An abuser can’t feel good about himself unless he feels he is in total control of a woman and the relationship.
The abuser will use physical violence, threats of physical violence, isolation, yelling, screaming, and emotional, sexual or financial abuse to attempt to control his wife and in return control the relationship. He will leave both physical and emotional scars as he tried to remain in control and stave off the feeling of his wife being out of his control. And as the economy gets worse, and recession sets in, and jobs are lost, and income falls… the more an abuser takes out his feelings of helplessness on his wife.
Victims of Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse happens to women of all ages, races and religions. Her economic or professional status is not an indicator of whether or not she will one day be a victim of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse occurs in the poorest neighbor and the priciest mansions.
Nearly 95 percent of domestic abuse victims are women. Over 50 percent of all women will experience domestic abuse in a love relationship and, for 24 to 30 percent of these women, the abuse happens regularly and over a long period.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Abuse, every 15 seconds a man or a woman becomes a victim of abuse. An abuser may seem gentle, loving, and kind to begin with. A woman might start a relationship thinking she had met her soul-mate, only to discover her mate had no soul at all.
Types of Domestic Abuse:
• Physical Abuse. Physical abuse consist of grabbing, pinching, shoving, slapping, hitting, hair pulling, kicking, biting, etc. The abuser lashes out with aggressive or violent behavior to show the victim that he is the boss.
• Sexual Abuse. The sexually abusive husband will force or attempt to force sexual contact. A sexual abuser may commit marital rape, force sex on his wife after an episode of physical abuse, or treat his wife in a sexually demeaning way.
• Financial Abuse. The financial abuser attempts to make his wife financially dependent upon him. He maintains control over every financial resource; he withholds access to money and thwarts any attempt on her part to become financially independent.
• Emotional Abuse. The emotional abuser attempts to undermine his wife’s sense of self-worth by constantly criticizing her, belittling her, calling her names, coming between her and her friends, family, even children. Fear comes from the intimidation and mind games the victim is exposed to.
• Verbal Abuse. Verbal abuse may be overt or covert. Overt verbal abuse involves angry outbursts, verbal attacks, and name-calling. Overt verbal abuse is usually blaming and accusatory and causes great confusion to a wife who works hard to do the right thing. Covert verbal abuse involves subtle comments meant to cause the wife to doubt herself, but given with the appearance of “only trying to be helpful.” Covert verbal abuse, which can be even more confusing, stems from repressed and hidden aggression on the part of the abuser. He wants to control her without letting her know. He was to control her while holding onto his image as a nice guy.
An abuser, regardless of how he chooses to abuse is a “coward and a bully” according to Dr. Phil McGraw. The abuser “chooses to abuse where it is safe, in a place where he feels loved and protected.”
Do you know someone who is loving and protecting an abuser? In my next article, I will discuss a few questions to be asked, and steps to be taken, so a woman can protect herself.