Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse?

When people think of domestic abuse, they often focus on domestic violence. Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to dominate, gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser uses fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under their thumb. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone; it does not discriminate. Abusive behaviour is never acceptable from anyone. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe. Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal assault to violence. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone.

Signs of an abusive relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship, and a fear of your partner is the most telling. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them, constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up, these are all signs your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

Physical and sexual abuse

Physical abuse occurs when physical force is used against you in a way that injures or endangers you. Physical assault or battering is a crime, whether it occurs inside or outside of a family. Any situation in which you are forced to participate in; unwanted, inappropriate, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and domestic violence.

Emotional abuse: It’s a bigger problem than you think

Not all abusive relationships involve physical violence. Just because you’re not battered and bruised doesn’t mean you’re not being abused. Many men and women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often minimised or overlooked, even by the person experiencing it. Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behaviour are also forms of emotional abuse.

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Economic or financial abuse: A subtle form of emotional abuse

Remember, an abuser’s goal is to control you, and they will frequently use money to do so.

Economic or financial abuse includes:

  • Rigidly controlling your finances
  • Withholding money or credit cards
  • Making a person account for every penny they spend
  • Restricting you to an allowance • Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter)
  • Stopping you from working or choosing your own career
  • Sabotaging your job (making you miss work, calling constantly)
  • Stealing from you or taking your money

Recognizing the warning signs of abuse

There are some red flag signs of emotional abuse and domestic violence. If you witness these warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously.

People who are being abused might:

  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
  • Receive frequent harassing phone calls from their partner
  • Report often to partner where they are and what they’re doing

Warning signs of physical violence.

People who are being physically abused might:

  • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
  • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
  • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)

The psychological warning signs of abuse.

People who are being abused might:

  • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
  • Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal
  • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)

Warning signs of isolation.

People who are being isolated by their abuser might:

  • Be restricted from seeing family and friends
  • Rarely go out in public without their partner
  • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car

Are you ready to make a change?

You are very welcome to get in touch, for any enquiries or questions you may have, or to schedule an appointment.