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If you thought domestic violence only meant ‘A husband beating his wife’ then you are mistaken. You’d be surprised to know what constitutes Domestic Violence.
Women are at a greater risk of violence at home than on the street. Often times it is overlooked, excused, or denied. Domestic violence and abuse is used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over the victim.
What is ‘Domestic Violence’?
It is a crime most often committed by men against women and children and means repeated acts of abuse by a spouse or an intimate partner (wife, husband, de facto spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, straight or gay). It causes physical, sexual or psychological damage that forces a woman to live in fear.
Domestic Violence can take on the following forms:
Physical abuse – use of physical force.
Sexual abuse – forced sexual activity.
Emotional abuse – threats, constant criticism and put-downs.
Economic abuse – controlling access or deprivation of finances.
What is ‘physical abuse’?
Physical abuse is conduct that causes bodily pain, harm or danger to life. It is also abuse that impairs the health or development of the victim and includes assault, criminal intimidation and force. It can lead to being physically and mentally impaired and eventually to death. Some examples of physical violence are
Pushing and shoving
Using a weapon
Are you aware of ‘economic abuse’?
In some cases, by law, order of the court or because of the domestic relationship and dependency, the victim and her children are supposed to be given an allowance .When you deprive someone of the economic or financial resources that they are entitled to, it is termed as economic abuse.
Monthly allowance to run the house
Being prevented from getting or keeping a job
Accountability of every rupee spent…be it from her own salary
Stealing from the bank account on a regular basis
Property jointly or separately owned by the victim
Assets whether movable or immovable
Property in which the victim has a vested interest.
What about ‘emotional abuse‘?
No one should live in fear of the person they love. Tactics meant to humiliate, intimidate and terrorize the victim can be termed as emotional abuse. Whoever came up with the phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt” is absolutely nuts. This form of abuse may not hurt you physically, but it creates an atmosphere of fear and destroys you from within. It takes away your feelings of self-worth and independence. Victims tend to withdraw from others, so slowly that they don’t realize it, until they become even more dependent upon the abuser.
Isolation and refusing to let the woman see her friends or family
Preventing communication with others via the phone or email
No permission to leave the house
Insulting in public
Smashing things, or ripping or burning the victims clothes
Feelings of guilt and shame
Making the victim think she has a mental problem
Threatening to take or kill the children
Are you well informed about ‘sexual abuse‘?
Sexual abuse is always the fault of the abuser. It can range from unwanted sexual gestures to forcing someone to perform sexual activities against their will.
Violation of MOUTH, genitals, breasts, or ANUS
Forcing you to have sex or perform sexual acts against your will
RAPE by the HUSBAND
Forcing you to watch pornographic material be it with humans or animals.
Unsafe and degrading sexual activity
Aggression and violence during sex
After reading this article, if you find that you are in an abusive relationship, please acknowledge the abuse, develop a plan to keep yourself safe and seek HELP immediately.
If you are not in an abusive relationship then PLEASE offer to be that HELP. There is no point being a woman when you cannot help another in distress. Isolation and lack of social support makes the victim increasingly vulnerable to the abuser.
This is the the first in a series of articles on Domestic Violence. Like I mentioned D.V. is not just about beating. There are many aspects to it and people need to know and realize what they are up against. My next article with be an in depth analysis on each kind of abuse and then how to identify and see the signs of abuse in your own life, no matter how subtle the acts. I will also give you an idea of the laws that govern D.V. and explain the entire process when it comes to filing an N.C. and a real F.I.R. Yup a REAL F.I.R!
This post has been republished with the permission from the author, Christina Lobo Jha. You’ll find more of Christina’s work and her series on domestic violence over at her blog: Christina’s Corner