As a social worker with more than 20 years of experience, Tamille has worked as the Program Manager for the Bay Area Crisis Nursery for 6 years; she also has a background in Human Services and Organizational Development.
Abuse affects everyone. If a person who is abused has children in the home, the abuse affects those children in ways that might not be seen immediately. It is a common misconception that if children do not witness the abuse they will not be affected, but children know more than we think they do. They are intuitive. They are bright. They can tell when things are not right at home.
Defining and Recognizing Abuse
Physical abuse is the most widely talked about type of abuse. Hitting, slapping, beating, kicking, scratching, and choking all are a part of physical abuse and it’s what most people equate as the most harmful type of abuse. However physical abuse is just one of the ways that a human being can be demeaned, degraded and dismissed. There are many more ways that abuse can occur that are equally as harmful.
Psychological (Mental/Emotional) Abuse: This type of abuse occurs when one person subjects another person to behavior that results in psychological trauma. Psychological trauma may result in anxiety, chronic depression, feelings of worthlessness, and suicidal ideation (i.e., name calling, put downs, shaming, humiliation, blaming, making them feel guilty, threatening and intimidation, coercion and threats, etc.).
Economic Abuse: Economic of fiduciary abuse happens when an individual is prevented from making and keeping money for themselves by their abuser. If they do work, they must turn over all of their earnings to their abuser who keeps tabs on every penny. They have no access to family income or no way of receiving or spending money for themselves. Many times they must ask for money or are given an allowance to only cover the basic necessities.
Sexual Abuse: Perpetrators who are physically violent toward their intimate partners are often sexually abusive as well. Victims who are both physically and sexually abused are more likely to be injured or killed than victims who experience one form of abuse. Abusers assault people of all genders, races, ages, social classes, and ethnicities. Women who are disabled, pregnant, or attempting to leave their abusers are at greatest risk for intimate partner rape.
Source: NCADV. (2015). Facts about domestic violence and sexual abuse. Retrieved from www.ncadv.org
The above descriptions are in no way definitive of the full spectrum of how abuse may occur. Instead the above is an example of what those who are abused go through on a day-to-day basis. Many unseen or unheard and it is up to us to pay attention. It is up to us to know the signs and to put an end to violence.
Perhaps the most insidious portion of abuse is when children are used as collateral in a very sick and dangerous game. An abuser may:
- threaten to take the children away and not bring them back,
- use them to relay messages,
- make the victim feel guilty about them,
- hide them and forbid the victim to talk to them,
- use visitation to harass the victim or may even
- begin abusing the children as punishment against the victim.
Abuse can occur in as many situations as there are people involved. There are no limits to the extent that abuse can be reached in damaging the mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing of an individual, just as there are no limits on the race, creed, color, gender or demographics of the person abusing or being abused.
There is help available for you:
- Call the National Domestic Violence at 1-800 -799-7233 (SAFE).
- Locally, Contact STAND! Against Domestic Violence at 1-888-215-5555.