This Is The Kind Of Abuse We Associate With Domestic Violence The Most.
The bruises, broken bones, black eyes, burn marks, busted teeth. This is what you see in the headlines. This form of abuse is easiest to spot, but it doesn’t make it any easier to stomach it when you see it.
“I fell off my bicycle.”
“I slipped in the bathroom and hit my head.”
“I fell down the stairs.”
Those are the typical responses you get when you ask about those bruises. You know in your heart they aren’t telling you the truth.
If the victim does admit that she’s been hit, then you’ll get a different list of excuses for the abuser’s behavior:
“He said he wouldn’t do it again.”
“I did something to make him angry.”
“He’s just really stressed out at work.”
We are all aware of some of the obvious examples of physical abuse: shoving, hitting, assault with a weapon, burning, choking, and drowning etc.
Here Are Some Examples Of Physical Abuse You May Not Have Thought Of Before:
Being shaken, being tied up, being locked in a room, an unloaded or loaded gun pointed at you, deprived of food or drink, deprived of sleep, denied medical treatment, poisoning, drugging, harm of pets, destruction of property, and stalking.
Physical violence doesn’t just include physical beatings. It also includes threats of violence.
Let’s imagine that your abuser put a gun to his head, and threatened to pull the trigger. Immediately, you think, “Is he going to turn the gun on me too?” Even if you get him to put the gun down, you now don’t feel safe in your own home. More questions fill your mind.
“Is it going to happen again?”
“Will he hurt somebody else, like my pets or even my children?”
The sad part of domestic violence and beatings is that victims don’t think they deserve anything else. They won’t press charges even if the police are called for the 10th time. Why not???
There Are A Variety Of Reasons Why A Victim Will Not Stand Up For Herself.
Some of these reasons are complicated.
- She has children she is trying to protect.
This victim is probably taking the beatings instead of her children. Sometimes the only thing that changes her mind to leave is when the abuser starts hitting her children. Escaping is much more challenging with kids.
- No self worth
This is the common denominator of tolerating any kind of abuse. If you don’t believe you are a person worthy of respect, then you will put up with anything.
- She has nowhere to go.
Maybe she is isolated from family, doesn’t have family nearby, or her family is abusive too. Some remote communities don’t even have shelters to go to.
- She doesn’t have a job or financial resources.
Abusers use this tactic to maintain control.
- She loves her abuser.
Co-dependency on the abuser is common. Sometimes he is charming and nice to her. He is providing some needs that she has or her children have, like food, housing etc.
- She has physical ailments, health conditions and can’t fight back.
Any mental or physical handicap is ripe for physical abuse. Abusers prey on weakness.
- This is all the victim has ever known and thinks this is normal behavior.
People who are abused as children grow up to marry an abusive person often. That’s their normal.
- She has tried to leave, but goes back to him after he says he’s sorry.
“It will never happen again”, he says. So she goes back to him and it gets worse from then on.
- If the victim is a leader or prominent member of society, she might not leave because she doesn’t want to bring slander or gossip to the family. She doesn’t want anyone to know about her secret because her reputation would be ruined.
You Are Stronger Than You Think!
It’s a mental stronghold. It’s like the elephant at the circus. When the elephant is young, he has a chain around his leg to keep him from escaping. He tries and tries in vain to break free, but to no avail. Eventually, he gives up. That’s why you see these massive elephants at the circus with these small chains. You think, “Why doesn’t the elephant escape? Surely, it is much stronger than that small chain.” It is all a mental trap. The elephant doesn’t realize how strong he is. Sometimes you will hear about a circus animal breaking free and running wild in the streets. The animal has had enough of being beaten, chained, and abused. He has finally found the power to break free.
This is what you must realize. YOU are worth being treated with respect! You are stronger than you ever imagined. You CAN escape a life of misery. It’s not going to be easy. It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but it will be worth it.
What Can You Do?
Take small steps towards your goal:
- Be brave. Yo can do it!
- Start putting money aside, even if it is a small amount.
- If you can, document each incident of abuse. Take pictures or video of injuries. Even keeping a written log will help a police report in the future.
- Open a separate bank account online to deposit savings. Keep it hidden. Have bank accounts go to a friend’s house if necessary.
- Put together an emergency bag. Gather important document like ID’s, birth certificates, social security cards etc. Also put items in the bag that are important if you were to leave quickly.
- Ask for help! There are organizations out there willing to assist you!
- The most important thing for you to do is being committed to your decision.
Do you recognize these examples of abuse in your own life or someone you know? If so, please reach out for help at a shelter near you.
Our next topic in the series is about Verbal or Emotional Abuse. Please share this post if you find this series helpful.