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How to deal with domestic abuse

Hello Sehat
Hello Sehat

Hidup Sehat Hidup Bahagia

Jakarta | Thu, July 28, 2016 | 09:29 am
How to deal with domestic abuse

Even though emotional abuse does not cause physical harm, it is a bigger problem than many people think. (Shutterstock/-)

Domestic abuse is a type of abuse that occurs between a spouse, partner, child, elderly relative or any other family member. It can happen to anyone and affects both the physical and psychological condition of the victim.

If you are a victim, abusers will try to use fear, guilt and shame to bring you down or hurt you as well as threaten you and the people around you. Understanding the problem of domestic abuse and its symptoms can help you to manage the situation and support yourself.

What is domestic abuse?

Physical abuse and domestic violence

Physical abuse is using physical force with the aim of injuring or endangering another person. It can cause wounds or injuries to the victim’s body.

It is important to know that sexual abuse is also a form of physical abuse. If you are involved in any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted or degrading sexual activity, it is considered sexual abuse. Even if it is perpetrated by your spouse or intimate partner, forced sex is an act of aggression and violence. Moreover, victims of physical or sexual abuse are likely to be severely injured, or could even be killed.

Emotional abuse

Domestic abuse can also cause emotional abuse. Even though this type of abuse does not cause physical harm, it is a bigger problem than you think. Abusers may use threats of physical violence or verbal abuse such as yelling, blaming or shaming.

Verbal abuse is a way of making you feel worthless and stupid. You have to remember that you are neither of these things. Abusers make themselves feel powerful by making you feel small and weak. In addition, there may be other behaviors like isolating, intimidating or controlling victims.

Victims of emotional abuse may feel that there is no way out of an abusive relationship and that their feelings of self-worth and independence have been destroyed. The worst outcome of emotional abuse is if victims experience suicidal thoughts or tendencies.

(Read also: Confessions of a male victim of relationship abuse)

Recognizing warning signs

Sometimes when you are the one being abused it is hard to identify and recognize the symptoms of domestic abuse. Even after all the abuse, you really do love your partner. This makes you stuck in a cycle of denial.

Here are some warning signs that you may be experiencing:

- Feeling afraid or anxious about your partner

- Always following what your partner says

- Talking about your partner’s temper or possessiveness

- Having frequent injuries and giving the excuse of accidents

- Often being absent from work, school or social activities

- Being restricted from seeing family and friends

- Having limited access to money or property

- Feeling depressed, anxious or suicidal

- Experiencing changes in personality or a lack of confidence

Managing suspected abuse

Do not hesitate to speak up. You do not deserve to be treated this way. There is no excuse for any type of abuse, especially domestic abuse. Don’t try to fight your partner alone. This will only aggravate them and intensify the domestic abuse. It will help if you talk to a close friend who can give you support and guidance on what you should do.

Abusers know how to control and manipulate you. When there is another person involved who they cannot control, they will start to feel less powerful. Sometimes it is better to get a doctor involved, as they can refer you to the right support groups that have experience with domestic abuse. You can even meet other domestic abuse victims and survivors to share stories and get support.  

Remember that you are not alone. Your friends and family want to help you and keep you safe. Do not push them away. You may not think you’re in an abusive relationship but if many of your friends and family are saying so, you may want to think again. Your safety should always come first. (kes)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.