Types of Domestic Abuse

When most people think of domestic abuse, they think of physical harm by one spouse or significant other against the other.  However, there are many different forms of domestic abuse; all with the same purposes in mind - gaining power and control of the victim.

The most common types of domestic abuse are:

Physical Abuse is any intentional use of physical touch, such as hitting, shoving or strangling, that can cause injury, fear and/or can assert control over the victim.

Emotional Abuse can either be verbal or non-verbal, rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from constant criticism to more subtle tactics such as intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased.  The effects on the victim are myriad, including depression and withdrawal, feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness, excessive fear and anxiety, agitation and/or frustration, inability to make decisions, low self-esteem, and/or passivity.

Financial Abuse is where money is used to control the victim in a relationship versus the normal arguments couples often have regarding finances.  To determine whether the financial relationship involves abuse ask the following questions: 

  • Does your spouse forbid you from working or sabotage employment opportunities?
  • Does he/she control how the money is spent?
  • Is one spouse denied access to bank accounts or other financial resources by the other spouse?
  • Does one spouse run up large debts in joint accounts without the other spouse’s permission?

Sexual Abuse is another form of physical abuse.  Ask yourself, does your partner force unwanted sex acts?  Does your partner minimize your feelings about sex?

Spiritual Abuse is anything that comes in the way of you doing something or feeling good about yourself (according to WEAVE.com).  Does your partner prevent you from practicing your religious beliefs/morals or culture or values?  Have you had to give up things that are important to you?

Technological Abuse is the use of technologies like texting and social media to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated online.

  • Cell phone calls and texting at unimaginable frequency means constant control day and night
  • Controlling passwords and financial accounts
  • Controlling social media accounts or using social media to monitor
  • GPS tracking
  • Making threats to use social media against partner (according to WEAVE.com)

If you feel you are the victim of domestic abuse, get help.  Contact your local police department, women’s shelter, or spiritual provider for getting the help you need.

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