Facebook Pixel

Domestic Abuse Comes in Many Forms — All of Them Dangerous

By HERWriter Guide
Rate This
Domestic Abuse Comes in Many Forms — And All of Them Dangerous Auremar/PhotoSpin

Many of us think of cuts, bruises and broken bones when we consider domestic violence and we’d be right. We think of wives facing severe beatings from their partners when they don’t follow household “rules” or even at the whim of an abusive partner. Some of us may be aware enough to know that “marital rape” is simply rape and is a vicious crime.

But abuse is not always so noticeable.

Along with sexual mistreatment, domestic abuse also includes emotional and verbal exploitation, that can collectively be called psychological abuse. While not potentially deadly like physical abuse can be, psychological abuse can destroy a marriage and can cause great psychological harm to its victims.

Domestic violence, in all its forms, is hazardous to ourselves as individuals, to marriage, and to society.

The National Coalition of Domestic Violence tells us that one in three women and one in four men will face some form of domestic violence. One in five women and one in seven men will be physically assaulted by an intimate (romantic) partner.

According to Safe Horizon, one in four women will experience some form of domestic abuse, as will three million men.

Forms of abuse include:

- Physical Abuse: slapping, kicking, hitting, shoving, or other physical force

- Sexual Abuse: rape, sexual assault, forced prostitution, or interfering with birth control

- Economic Abuse: controlling the victim’s money, withholding money for basic needs, interfering with school or job, or damaging the victim’s credit

- Emotional Abuse: shouting, name-calling, humiliation, constant criticism, or harming the victim’s relationship with children

- Psychological Abuse: threats to harm the victims' family, friends, children, co-workers, or pets, as well as isolation, mind games, destruction of victims' property, or stalking

Children who are abused are also victims of domestic violence. Even if not directly affected, they live in fear of being attacked and with guilt about being unable to stop their loved one from being hurt.

Many women who are at-home mothers face “economic abuse” where they have no income and depend on their partner for money to pay bills and buy food. When that partner withholds money, the woman is trapped in a dependent situation and has difficulty getting out.

Men are also hit and beaten by women and can be verbally and emotionally abused by women for years. A "nagging" wife can actually be an abuser. She can bully, blackmail and hit hard.

Many victims are asked why they don’t just get up and leave. It may be hard to imagine yourself putting up with such violence. But when the abused have no financial resources, when they live in isolation and are brutalized, when their loved ones are threatened with abuse or even death, and when they have young children — walking out is not only terrifying, it's dangerous.

The number one fact that Safe Horizon wants to bring home to people is that most instances of domestic violence are not reported. Many women — and in somewhat lesser numbers, men — live with psychological, verbal, physical and sexual violence without ever reporting the crimes committed against them for fear of severe retribution.

The onus should not be on the abused to fix this situation. The responsibility comes down to the men and women who systematically beat and abuse their partners and children. These abusers may be helped with intense therapy. If they are not compliant, they may need to be separated from society to keep those around safe.

Violent actions against those who are vulnerable are not some kind of “situation” between partners. They are crimes committed against human beings that need to be handled in a court of law like any other crimes.

The abused need to know that there are safe places to go and that leaving is indeed an option. Nobody has to live with broken bones or a broken spirit.

Please contact Safe Horizon or local social services to find support. Tell trusted co-workers, friends or family. Help is out there and there ARE solutions. It's important, in all cases of imminent danger, to call 911.


Safe Horizon. Domestic Violence: Statistics and Facts. Web. Retrieved April 18th 2015.

The National Coalition of Domestic Violence (NCADV). Statistics. Web. Retrieved April 18th 2015.

Reviewed April 22, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Domestic Abuse

Get Email Updates

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!