One of the biggest misconceptions of domestic violence is what it really is. Most people automatically think of physical abuse with the image of a larger man attacking a smaller woman. But there are many types of abuse that can be just as destructive.
Types of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence tends to fall under several major types – physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or psychological. These aren’t rigid categories and many times they’ll overlap. Many victims will have survived more than one type. This makes it very difficult for someone to get out of these relationships.Physical violence will be the most obvious form of abuse. The signs are visible in many cases and it’s harder for the person to hide. But it might not start that way. Abusers may start with psychological abuse such as gaslighting. This tactic leaves the victim wondering if they are misunderstanding things. By gaining their trust and convincing them they are wrong, the abuser gains control over the person. They may use other forms of psychological and emotional control and manipulation as well as financial to keep the person dependent. Sexual abuse can fall in this category but can also have some psychological and emotional aspects too.
The Invisible Forms of Abuse
Emotional and psychological abuse are a bit more insidious because the signs aren’t visible on the surface. This type of abuse can include verbal abuse, manipulation, intimidation, and aggression. It gives the abuser control over the victim without showing the effects physically. This type of abuse is often hard for people to understand because you can’t tell it’s going on. But it’s just as real and just as damaging. The victim may struggle to get help because they may feel that they won’t be believed. Financial abuse can fall in this category too. By controlling the victim’s money, the abuser can make it feel impossible for the victim to get away. They won’t have the funds to escape.
Why It’s Hard to Leave
An abuser will often use multiple forms of abuse, control, and manipulation to keep their victim too scared to do anything that could set off more abuse. It’s also one of the hardest things for a victim to understand; that the abuse is not their fault.
Knowing the types of abuse and the reality of them lets us help these survivors get out and start over. It’s one of the hardest decisions they make and we need to be educated in how to help them.