Domestic violence; Types and warning signs

Domestic violence is a major issue of global concern. It is a pattern of behaviour used by one partner to dominate another partner in an intimate relationship. This abuse doesn’t end up as a physical injury and death alone but also has severe effects on the mental health of its victims.

The perpetrators of this violence do not necessarily have to be from a particular gender, race, age range, religion or sexual orientation, anyone can either be the victim or the perpetrator of domestic violence.

It can happen to a married couple, those living together, young/old who are casually dating. It also happens to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. 

Note: Any action from another party, that physically harm you, arouse fear in you or prevent you from doing what you desire to do or force you do behave in a manner against your will should be considered as domestic violence. This can be in the form of emotional abuse, sexual abuse, threat and intimidations etc.

Although, you can’t tell if a relationship would be abusive, because in most cases, it’s always rosy and perfect at the beginning. Possessive and controlling behaviours don’t always develop overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

 Types of domestic violence

Physical Violence is the use of physical force against the other party in a way that ends up injuring the person or puts them in danger or risk of been injured. Examples include hitting, shoving, biting, restraining, shaking, choking, forcing drug/alcohol use, and assault with a weapon, etc. 

Sexual violence involves the violation of an individual’s bodily integrity. It’s one of the commonest forms of domestic violence. It includes coercing sexual contact, rape, and prostitution. Sexual abuse also includes behaviour which limits reproductive rights, such as stopping the use of contractive methods or forcing abortion.

Many victims don’t apprehend how broadly sexual abuse is defined. For example, if you’ve ever been constrained into not using contraception or having an abortion, then you may have been sexually abused. This form of abuse is known as reproductive coercion.

Psychological abuse is often portrayed as intimidation, threats of harm, and isolation. Examples include instilling fear in an intimate partner through threatening behaviour, such as damaging property or abusing pets, constant monitoring, or controlling what the victim does. 

Spiritual abuse may be seen as psychological abuse. It involves the misuse of spiritual or religious beliefs to manipulate or exert power and control over the other party.

Emotional abuse involves undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth. Examples of emotional abuse include blaming the victim for all problems in the relationship, regularly comparing the victim with others to undermine their self-esteem, emotional blackmail and suicidal threats of all sort. 

Economic abuse is devising all means to make the victim financially reliant on the abuser. It includes preventing or denying an intimate partner from work, education, controlling the financial resources, and withholding access to economic resources.

Warning Signs of Domestic Violence

Some of the signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who:

  • Stops you from seeing friends or family members
  • Demeans you to always put you down
  • Looks at you in a very scary way
  • Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
  • Prevents you from making your own decisions
  • Destroys your property or threatens to hurt you
  • Intimidates you with harmful weapons
  • Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to
  • Pressures you to take substances
  • Controls your time.
  • Beats you etc.

Remember, no one deserves to be abuse for any reason. If you have concerns about what’s happening in your relationship, you should seek help or contact relevant organizations for immediate intervention.