By Jane Sandwood, http://www.onthewagon.org/
Chances are, even those of us close to an abusive relationship or an abusive family member will not see it. Sometimes there are telltale signs to look out for and we will go into those later, but a lot of the time both the perpetrator and the victim are expert at hiding it or doing it in such a way that no one suspects anything.
That being said, the number of people who suffer this is huge and is worrying. Between 15% and 25% of women will be abused either as children or adults, with between 9% and 25% of women subject to domestic violence. However, boys and men are victims too and are not always the perpetrators. 55% of all domestic violence victims are women. Yes, that is a majority, but it also means that 45% of victims are male.
Each year, around 1,750 children die as a result of child abuse and a further 579,000 are abused in other ways. Any mistreatment of a minor is considered an act of abuse and these are divided into 4 main types:
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional or Psychological Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
Many of these can lead to significant physical and emotional trauma during the event themselves. However, those who heal physically are rarely healed emotionally and psychologically. They will potentially carry the scars of their abuse for the rest of their lives. This can lead to a whole range of feelings and problems including low self-esteem, self-harm, substance abuse, shame, lack of trust, unhealthy relationships, anxiety, and depression.
You may spot a potential child abuser through these signs:
- Anger management issues
- Grew up in a violent household
- Young parent lacking in knowledge and skills
- Emotionally disconnected from own children
- Unable to meet daily needs of the child
- Always feeling overwhelmed
- Multiple people expressing concern over that person
- Substance abuse be it alcohol or drugs
However, there will be other warning signs and sometimes none at all.
Violence within the home and within a relationship is also divided into four types:
- Emotional and Verbal
- Financial or Economic
Domestic violence can be more complicated because one or both spouses or partners can cause the problem or be the victim. As noted above, men can be victims of domestic violence too, but suffer from less support and less recognition from authorities and groups. Signs of domestic violence include:
- Fear of a partner
- Fear of angering a partner
- Feeling you deserve punishment
- Thinking you might be crazy
- Feeling helpless and numb inside
- Humiliated by partner
- Yelled at or criticized often by them
- Constantly put down
- Opinions rubbished or ignored
- Blame you for their abuse
- Treated as a sex object
There are many reasons for someone to abuse their spouse. It can relate to stress, fear, shame, substance abuse, and can be due to control issues. However, it is always a choice by the abuser to abuse and it is not the fault of the abused that this happens to them. Domestic violence can and often is highly damaging both physically and emotionally, and is sadly all too often lethal. It is important to support victims of abuse and to watch out for signs of it happening. To find out more about this, please check out this in-depth guide on child abuse and domestic violence page.