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Not All Domestic Abuse is Physical

By Brittney Sullivan, Content Specialist for Lane, Hupp & Crowley, PLC, criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix, AZ

It’s true that whenever we encounter the phrase “domestic violence,” the first and probably the only thing that crosses our mind is the image of a person being subjected to physical abuse. But not all domestic abuse is physical.

Physical abuse, while related directly to domestic violence, is just one of the forms that the latter takes.  Many other types of domestic violence take place on a daily basis anywhere in the world. Here are the forms of domestic violence you should be aware of.

Physical abuse

As mentioned above, physical abuse is the one form people most commonly associated with domestic violence. And when physical abuse is mentioned, we immediately think of a person being punched, slapped, bitten, strangled, kicked, shoved, hit with an object, and whose hair is being pulled.

Physical abuse, however, covers all kinds of unwanted physical contact aside from the ones mentioned above. In fact, not all physical abuse involves actual physical contact.

If a person intentionally cuts off a family member’s access to food, water, sleep, money, transportation, and medicine—all physical needs—then he or she may be accused of physical abuse.

It’s also physical abuse when a person throws things or hits or kicks down walls and doors during an argument.

Sexual abuse

Marital rape is sexual abuse, which is another form of domestic violence. Aside from forcing sexual contact on a partner, sexual harassment, forcing him or her to engage in sex with other people, or any unwanted act that is sexual in nature can be construed as sexual abuse.

It’s also sexual abuse, reproductive coercion to be exact, when a woman is forced to forgo the use of contraceptives during sex or have an abortion.

Psychological abuse

When a person continually intimidates or threatens a partner or any member of the family with harm, that is already physical abuse. The threat could be directed towards the victim or the victim’s property. Any attempt by a perpetrator to control every aspect of a victim’s life may also be interpreted as psychological abuse.

Emotional abuse

Humiliating a family member by way of a relentless barrage of insults, criticisms, and name-calling on a regular basis is an act of emotional abuse. More often than not, the ones at the receiving end of such humiliation end up having a severely-diminished sense of self-worth.

This kind of abuse, however, is incredibly common in any family, and it is likely that many perpetrators and even their targets are not aware that there is emotional abuse going on in their relationship.

Economic or financial abuse

Withholding financial or economic resources to a member of the family is financial or economic abuse. Blocking a family member’s access to cash and credit cards is a clear example.  Those who demand that paychecks be turned over to them can also be accused as financial abusers. So are people who do things to make a family member lose his or her job, prevent him or her from getting a job. Forcing a spouse or family member to work against his or her will is also economic abuse.

The need for awareness about all forms of domestic violence is paramount because it’s possible that some victims do not know they’re being abused, and for perpetrators to have no idea they are committing it, especially in cases where no physical violence is involved.

About The Author

Brittney Sullivan is the Content Specialist for Lane, Hupp & Crowley, PLC, a team of criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix, Arizona. Aside from writing about criminal and DUI defense, she likes to read and going on road trips with her family and friends.

About Brittney Sullivan, Content Specialist for Lane, Hupp & Crowley, PLC

Alternative Text

Brittney Sullivan is the Content Specialist for Lane, Hupp & Crowley, PLC, a team of criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix, Arizona. Aside from writing about criminal and DUI defense, she likes to read and going on road trips with her family and friends.

Brittney Sullivan on the Web
More on: Marital Conflict, Trauma
Latest update: November 2, 2018