Domestic violence defines a pattern of behaviour within a relationship that is used to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Sexual and physical abuse always provoke strong reactions, but many other forms of abuse can go unnoticed.
Sometimes the victim may not even realise that they are being abused because they have been manipulated to believe they deserve it or that the patterns in their relationship are normal. Domestic abuse can be perpetuated by a partner, child, or any person who has a close relationship or lives with the victim. In this blog, we are going to delve into the subtle forms of domestic violence that no one seems to acknowledge.
Emotional abuse is a strong tool of intimidation and manipulation of the victim. This happens when the abuser constantly puts down their partner and makes them feel insecure about themselves.
It includes name-calling, playing mind games, and humiliation. If the victim tries to fight back, they will be made to feel like they have been acting crazy or feel ashamed and burdened with feelings of guilt. It can be done very subtly so that others may not even notice the abuse. It is a truly insidious form of abuse that can completely wear down the victim’s self-esteem and mental health.
Economic abuse is a way of keeping the victim dependent on their abuser, where they may feel trapped within the relationship because of their lack of self-sufficiency. The abuser may restrict, exploit or sabotage their victim’s access to money and other resources.
This includes preventing their partner from getting or holding down a job, which then leaves the victim having to ask for money or an allowance of some kind. It can also mean that the abuser takes their partner’s money. It can be very difficult and intimidating to try and break free and go out into a world where money is needed for everything. It may seem even more difficult if the person feels like they are incapable of providing for themselves.
Isolation is another more subtle form of abuse, which plays a major role in domestic violence cases. It is a psychological tactic that isolates the victim from their friends and loved ones who may otherwise be able to notice the destructive patterns within the abusive relationship.
Isolation occurs when the abuser has total control over their victim’s social activities and interactions. The victim may have to always report their whereabouts to their abuser. They may also be threatened by the abuser, who claims they will cause harm to their loved ones or ruin their reputation. When the victim finds themselves in a completely isolated environment with their abuser, it may become tough to see themselves outside of that relationship.
Male privilege may also be used by male abusers to reinforce the position of power they are viewed to have. However, the victim is not necessarily always a woman. Sometimes the abuser will turn their victim into a submissive servant, where the abuser acts like the king of the castle and makes all the big decisions. They single-handedly define and enforce the roles within that particular relationship.
Coercion and threats are used to obtain control through making and/or carrying out threats that hurt their victim. The abuser may also threaten to leave their partner, or they may threaten to commit suicide or report the victim if they leave instead. The victim is usually left feeling cornered, carrying the weight of these proposed consequences of their actions. They may end up dropping any charges and staying with their abuser in fear of what could happen if they leave.
Domestic abuse covers a wide range of psychological tactics, as well as coercive control and sexual and physical abuse. It is important to acknowledge all the different types of abuse and bring them up for discussion more often. People may not be aware that what they are experiencing is considered abuse because emotional and coercive control is often used to manipulate them into thinking that they deserve to be treated that way. We need to look after ourselves and know when to ask for help and support.
Please share this blog as it may help someone realise they are in an abusive relationship if these above-mentioned issues apply to them.