Many of us think of cuts, bruises and broken bones when we consider domestic violence and we’d be right. We think of wives facing severe beatings from their partners when they don’t follow household “rules” or even at the whim of an abusive partner. Some of us may be aware enough to know that “marital rape” is simply rape and is a vicious crime.
But abuse is not always so noticeable.
Along with sexual mistreatment, domestic abuse also includes emotional and verbal exploitation, that can collectively be called psychological abuse. While not potentially deadly like physical abuse can be, psychological abuse can destroy a marriage and can cause great psychological harm to its victims.
Domestic violence, in all its forms, is hazardous to ourselves as individuals, to marriage, and to society.
The National Coalition of Domestic Violence tells us that one in three women and one in four men will face some form of domestic violence. One in five women and one in seven men will be physically assaulted by an intimate (romantic) partner.
According to Safe Horizon, one in four women will experience some form of domestic abuse, as will three million men.
Forms of abuse include:
- Physical Abuse: slapping, kicking, hitting, shoving, or other physical force
- Sexual Abuse: rape, sexual assault, forced prostitution, or interfering with birth control
- Economic Abuse: controlling the victim’s money, withholding money for basic needs, interfering with school or job, or damaging the victim’s credit
- Emotional Abuse: shouting, name-calling, humiliation, constant criticism, or harming the victim’s relationship with children
- Psychological Abuse: threats to harm the victims' family, friends, children, co-workers, or pets, as well as isolation, mind games, destruction of victims' property, or stalking
Children who are abused are also victims of domestic violence. Even if not directly affected, they live in fear of being attacked and with guilt about being unable to stop their loved one from being hurt.