Domestic abuse is not always about a direct, violent act. It can take many different forms, and it victimizes both men and women.
You should stay aware of the various types of abuse, so you can get help escaping from an abusive situation.
It's Not Just Physical Violence
Physical violence is, of course, a form of abuse, but the term is broader than just that. Abuse encompasses a much wider range of behaviors.
Understand that all abusive behaviors cause damage. Everyone must recognize the severity of non-physical forms of abuse and start to provide solid support systems for all victims.
1. Emotional Abuse
The Silent Killer in Many Marriages
Emotional abuse is a devastating form of maltreatment. It can leave lifelong emotional scars and even contribute to physical health complications.
Often overlooked, the damage emotional abuse causes in marriages is comparable to that of physical violence. It is difficult to detect and rarely prosecuted.
Victims of this “silent killer” typically suffer humiliation, intimidation, gaslighting, verbal threats, insults, rejection, and/or isolation.
These actions don’t need to occur on a daily basis. When they are present, even in “small” doses, they can impact the marriage and have a powerful, long-lasting effect.
Victims of emotional abuse have the right to seek help. Only by breaking the silence can we begin to address this growing problem and ultimately protect victims of this toxic behavior.
2. Financial Abuse
Controlling a Spouse Through Money
Financial abuse is a common form of domestic abuse. Many people don't understand the full extent of its effects, so it is often ignored.
This type of abuse includes:
- withholding money
- refusing to pay bills
- limiting access to joint bank accounts
forcing someone to sign away:
Often, this behavior is a tool of power and domination in an already imbalanced relationship. The long-term financial consequences for the victim are undeniable.
3. Sexual Abuse
A Violation of Trust and Intimacy
The thought of sexual abuse is disruptive and monstrous. It targets the victims’ right to safety, privacy, trust, and intimacy. No person should ever fear experiencing intrusive acts devoid of consent.
Sexual abuse is a gross violation of our basic human rights. It destroys morale and self-worth, leaving behind deep emotional and psychological scars that can take years to heal, if healing is even possible.
Marriage is not a presumption of sexual consent. If one spouse is not in the mood, the other has no right to force the issue. Many abusers will use the fact that they were married as an excuse. This is an unacceptable attitude, and it should not be tolerated.
4. Spiritual Abuse
Using Religion to Control or Manipulate a Spouse
Spiritual abuse is a devastating form of manipulation. The abuser uses religious doctrine as a tool to dominate and exert control over their partners. They create arbitrary restrictions and rules, twisting the meaning and intent of sacred texts. At its most extreme, religious abuse is cultlike. The abuser sets themselves up as God or as God’s only true prophet.
This type of abuse is insidious because it is difficult to detect it. After all, it's cloaked under the guise of religiosity. Outsiders could see the victim’s behavior as evidence of devout faith rather than oppressive abuse.
People who suffer spiritual abuse face immense mental and emotional suffering. They struggle with feelings of guilt and worthlessness. They never feel capable of achieving goodness, God’s love, the prophet’s approval, or whatever spiritual goal they can never attain.
We must start taking this form of abuse seriously, raising awareness to help victims seek the appropriate support they need and deserve.
Abuse in a Divorce
Not all forms of abuse are directly illegal, so it can be difficult to seek criminal justice in these matters. In a divorce, however, you can seek compensation for your misery.
When there is evidence of abuse in a marriage, a judge can help balance the scales. They can issue restraining orders, keeping the abuser separate from their victim. Courts can also use property division and spousal support to give the victim more assets. This compensation cannot fix your internal wounds, but it can punish your abuser while making your life more comfortable as you rebuild.
The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC is here to help the victims of marital abuse. If you are in a bad situation, contact our office as soon as you can. We may be able to help get you to a safe place. Then we can work on creating a restraining order and starting divorce proceedings. Reach out to us online or call us now at (515) 200-7571.