Domestic Violence

This post contains information supplemental to my presentation, “Emotionally Close While Physically Distant,” part of the webinar “Helping to Stop Abuse During COVID” sponsored by Temple Sinai Toronto, Live streamed: April 20, 2021, 7:30-8:30pm.

Domestic or family violence is an abuse of power – a betrayal of trust. It is common for people who are abused to feel at fault – and to feel that they deserved to be hurt – to feel guilty and ashamed. These feelings flow from irrational thoughts. The person who is abused is NEVER responsible for the abuse no matter how much that person believes he/she provoked the abuser. It is ALWAYS the person who chose to abuse who is responsible. The only person who should feel guilty and ashamed is the abuser who has failed to control their behaviour. Abusive behaviour is a choice.

Types of Abuse

(1) Physical Abuse is any type of physical assault or physical form of harm. Included are punching, kicking, spitting, hitting, or using an object to cause pain. Other examples are forcing a person to use drugs or alcohol, forbidding a person to eat or sleep, physically blocking a person from leaving a room or house, and physically restraining a person from moving.

(2) Sexual Abuse is a form of physical abuse. It is forcing another person to engage in any type of sexual activity without their consent and engaging in sexual activity with a minor. This might include forcing the person to dress in a sexual way against their will, restraining a person against their will during sex, causing pain with an object during sex, and inviting others to witness sexual activity without the person’s consent.

(3) Physical Neglect is another type of physical abuse. Examples are failing to provide the basic necessities of life to another person – for example, not providing food, water, heating, freedom of movement, or health care and failing to protect someone from physical harm.

(4) Emotional Abuse can be difficult to recognize. Some examples are name-calling, put-downs, intimidation, swearing at the person, threats to harm the person or their children or pets, public embarrassment, preventing the person from communicating with family and friends, and blaming the survivor for the abuse.

(5) Digital Abuse is a form of emotional abuse using technology. Examples are sending abusive messages to the person, using social media to track the person’s activities, posting unflattering photos or videos of the person without their consent, pressuring the person to post unwanted photos or videos online, stealing the person’s passwords, constantly texting the person and pressuring the person to respond immediately, creating a fake social media identity, and sending messages to others pretending to be the other person.

(6) Financial Abuse involves using money or property to control and exploit someone. Examples are taking money without consent, withholding money to control someone, depositing pay in an account that only the abuser can access, getting the person fired from a job, preventing the person from going to work, maxing out a person’s credit cards without permission, pressuring someone to sign documents, pressuring the person to change their will, or pressuring them to sell something.

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