You may want to know how to detect abuse in relationships? Keep reading this awareness guide for the information you seek.
We all know those couples that seem to have a perfect life together — loving relationship with one another, happy and healthy children, satisfying careers, and financial stability. But we never really know what happens behind closed doors, which means that we never really know where the brokenness lies in someone’s private life.
Domestic violence and emotional abuse and psychological abuse are serious issues in our society, but they so often go unnoticed by friends and family of those suffering in abusive relationships.
Fear and shame often make individuals feel they must hide the abuse they suffer from.
1. What is Domestic Violence?
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics defines domestic violence as “any harm inflicted by intimate partners, immediate family members, or other relatives.”
Domestic violence is inflicted by those who are living in close quarters with the victim, making it especially easy to hide from outside parties. Without some sort of intervention, domestic violence and abuse can last for months or years.
Physical and Sexual Assault
When people think of abuse, they often think of physical forms first. Physical abuse is arguably the easiest to identify, as it can leave physical marks on the victim’s body (bruises, burns, etc.). Physical abuse includes hitting, punching, kicking, choking, hair-pulling, burning, and any other physical acts intended to harm.
Sexual abuse can leave physical marks as well but can be harder to identify. It includes any sort of unwanted and nonconsensual sexual contact.
Emotional and Psychological Abuse
Emotional and psychological abuse is meant to control the victim without physical acts. Actions, communications, and interactions, in general, can be used and take different forms, such as isolation, manipulation, slander, blame, intimidation, and mind games.
Financial abuse is not spoken about as often as other forms of abuse, but it can be just as serious. In this case, the perpetrator denies adequate access to finances to the victim and so controls their ability to gain independence.
Just as there is a wide range of abusive behavours that can be used, there is a wide range of potential victims. Some demographics may be more susceptible to abuse than others, but anyone can become a victim of domestic violence or abusive relationships.
A person can be a victim of domestic violence or abusive relationships regardless of gender. Roughly 1 of 4 women and 1 of 7 men will be a victim of domestic violence at some time throughout their lives — that is 35.6% of women and 28.5% of men!
Statistically speaking, 12.3% of female rape victims experience their first rape before they reach the age of 10, with 42.2% having gone through their first rape before reaching legal adulthood and 79.6% before the age of 25. Male victims are also more susceptible at an early age, with 27.8% having experienced their first rape before the age of 10. One in 3 women and 1 in 10 men report long-term consequences of their abusive past.
It seems that being young makes a person more likely to be abused, regardless of the form taken. Of the total number of sexual and physical abuse victims, over half started experiencing the abuse before reaching 25 years old.
The years between ages 11 and 17 seem to be the most common years of abuse, with 22.4% of female victims and 15% of male victims reporting that age span as when their first abuse took place. The largest number of intimate partner violence victims lies in the bracket of 18 to 24 years old.
Although the number of young victims of violence and abuse within relationships is overwhelming, there are many people who are in later stages of life who experience abuse from their loved ones. Elder abuse is common in North America and typically happens with a son/son-in-law or daughter/daughter-in-law abusing their elderly parent/parent-in-law.
Race and Location
Violence and abuse do not discriminate based on race, just as they do not discriminate by age or gender — every race has a statistic for abuse and violence. Just speaking about female rape alone, 13.6% are Hispanic, 20.5% are white, 21.2% are black, and 27.5% are American Indian/Alaska natives.
That being said, the state of Alaska has the largest percentage of female rape victims, and 58% of the state’s total female population have dealt with or will deal with non-rape sexual violence.
In the United States, it is estimated that 21,840,000 women will be a victim of rape at some point throughout their lifetime. 53,174,000 women and 25,130,000 men are estimated to be victims of other acts of sexual violence.
3. Identifying Domestic Violence and Abuse in Relationships
It can be hard to know for sure whether or not a person you suspect of being abused at home is actually a victim. Being able to identify the signs of domestic violence and abusive relationships can make all the difference in a victim’s life, sometimes literally.
Physical abuse can be apparent due to physical marks on the victim’s body, such as burns, bruises, and cuts. The victim might casually mention suspected internal injuries or recent hospital visits. Paying close attention to the details brought up in conversation can help you to pick up on hints that he or she might be dropping in a subtle attempt to get help.
For any type of abuse, the victim might mention not being able to access finances or normal resources, take part in extracurricular activities, or even see their children. He or she may confide in you, saying that he or she is afraid or uncomfortable around their partner, or they might be afraid to talk to you at all when it comes to certain topics of discussion.
4. Ending the Cycle of Domestic Violence and Abuse
Abuse within a relationship often comes in the form of cycles: abuse, remorse, repentance, reconciliation, trust, and back to abuse. The victim of intimate abuse often feels that the abuser truly feels remorse for their abusive behavior and clings to that hope when the abuse comes back around. The hope of the victim only allows the abuser to continue their abusive control techniques.
Attempting to remove yourself from an abusive relationship can make you more vulnerable than you would be if you were to stay. If you are in an abusive relationship and trying to get out, keep those who really do care about you close and allow them to help you. If there is any possibility of violence, you are best to ask for police support in creating a separation between you and the abuser.
If someone you know is the leaving victim, make sure that you make yourself available to them and that they know they can count on you for help and support. Many people have died at the hands of their abusers; the police are there to help to make sure that doesn't happen.
Even after getting out of an abusive or violent relationship, the victim still might return to it for various reasons. This is another reason why having a strong support system is essential when recovering from an abusive relationship. Professionals, clergy, lawyers, and close friends and family can help keep the victim safe and work towards stoping the abuse, and emotional and psychological healing.
Selected online sources:http://womenshealth.gov/violence-against-women/government-in-action/