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Domestic Violence Awareness: Together we can Stop Abuse.
Domestic violence is often thought of as physical brutality, yet in definition it covers a broad range of abusive behaviors. Abuse affects individuals from all socioeconomic, racial, gender, and cultural backgrounds. Domestic Violence happens to people of all ages, ranging from children to the elderly population.
The United States Department of Justice defines domestic violence as follows:
We define domestic violence as a pattern to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
What are the Different Types of Abuse?
1. Physical Abuse: physical contact involving hitting, pinching, grabbing, biting, pushing, etc. Also, denying the individual access to medical care and other bullying tactics like forcing intake of alcohol or drugs.
2. Sexual Abuse: attempting sexual contact without consent such as rape, targeting specific body parts, or forcing sex after physical violence.
3. Emotional Abuse: belittling a person’s self-worth or self-esteem. The abuser often criticizes, uses name-calling, and blames the victim.
4. Economic Abuse: controlling the individual through financial means. The abuser often controls all aspects of the finances. Limited access to money, and disapproval of financial gain such as employment is often discouraged.
5. Psychological Abuse: intimidation, threats, destroying personal property, and mandating isolation from support systems like family, friends, school, and colleagues.
6. Neglect: when someone deprives a vulnerable individual of care necessary to maintain physical or mental health. It may include lack of food, clothing, medical attention, and safe living environment.
7. Self-Neglect: ceasing of providing oneself necessities for health and wellbeing. For example, living in unsanitary or unsafe conditions, and not getting medical treatment.
8. Abandonment: leaving a vulnerable individual without the ability of attaining food, clothing, shelter, or medical services.
Signs of Abuse & Abusive Behaviors
1. Individual experiences agitation and emotional distress.
2. Victim is anxious around others, and often withdrawn.
3. Rationalizing abuse after time passes. Thinking they are at fault for the abusers response.
4. Unattended health issues, and lack of medical care.
5. Unsanitary clothing or living conditions.
6. Noncompliance with medications (over or under dosing).
7. The abuser’s refusal to allow anyone to see the victim alone.
8. Sudden changes in bank accounts, or unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money.
9. Physical marks, bruises, lacerations, and burns particularly in areas covered with clothing like the chest, back, genitalia, upper arms, and thighs.
10. Sudden changes in financial documents.
11. Reports of abandonment, neglect, sexual misconduct and harm by the victim.
12. Deserting vulnerable individuals in their home, public places, or other areas.
Tips from the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV):
1. Continue to bring up the issues of controlling partners, promote healthy relationships, and talk about safety planning.
2. Never tolerate a friend or relative belittling or controlling others.
3. Donate items to local domestic violence shelters. Your gift can ensure domestic victims and their children shelter, needed supplies, and other types of aid.
To learn more on the different types of abuse visit The United States Department of Justice. Please contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse at 1-800-799- SAFE (7233). Together we can stop abuse!
* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions.