Unfortunately, domestic violence is running rampant in our country. The term is not only attached to an intimate partner as a victim but can also mean violence against a child or an elder. An abuser may use these different methods of domestic violence in Australia against someone he lives with and thinks he loves.
1. Physical violence – This is usually the first thing we think of when we hear the term “domestic violence” because we usually only hear about the ones who end up dead or severely injured. It can include pushing, pulling hair, biting, kicking, slapping, hitting, tripping, restraining, breaking bones, assault with a weapon, burning and of course death being the final act of violence.
2. Sexual violence – This is when the abuser forces sex upon his intimate partner when she doesn’t want it or when it is unsafe or degrading. It’s usually linked to the physical abuse, whether it occurs together or after the physical violence. Just because two people live together in an intimate relationship, it doesn’t mean that either partner has the right to demand sex from the other. If one of the two doesn’t want to have sex and it is forced on that person, it is rape.
The following are other types of domestic abuse, labeled “abuse” instead of “violence” because there are no physical scars or bruises caused from the abuse, yet it is abuse that will eventually lead to violence.
3. Emotional abuse – Although there are no outward signs indicating that a victim has been emotionally abused, this kind of abuse can be much more damaging than physical violence. It can be verbal or non-verbal and may include:
4. Spiritual abuse – This involves the abuser manipulating the victim by preventing her from practicing her religious or spiritual beliefs, by making fun of her beliefs or by forcing their children to be raised in a faith that she has not agreed to.
5. Financial or economic abuse – Taking total control of the finances is a way to take control of an intimate partner and prevent her from leaving the relationship because she has no money to help her escape. This includes:
6. Stalking – This can be very emotionally distressful since there is seemingly nowhere the victim can go where the abuser can’t follow, either by means of a phone, in person, watching with a hidden camera and even online. This can be done to someone who is still living in the abusive home or to someone who has left, whom the abuser is trying to get back or is hoping to catch alone to do further damage to. This can be a very frightening and dangerous position for a victim to be in.
Understanding the different methods used by an abusive intimate partner to control his significant other may help others to recognize the signs of someone who is possibly being abused and needs help. If you suspect someone is a domestic violence victim, ask her discretely if she needs to talk to someone or if there is anything you can do to help. Don’t be forceful, but give her an open invitation to talk to you if she ever feels like it.