The National Institutes of Health estimate that over 10 million people in the United States experience domestic violence each year. When talking about domestic violence, many people immediately think of physical abuse.
However, domestic violence encompasses more than just physical harm, and it is important to understand the other ways it could happen.
Emotional and psychological abuse
Emotional and psychological abuse may not leave visible scars, but their impact can be just as, if not more, devastating. This form of abuse includes belittling, constant criticism, intimidation, manipulation and threats. The abuser uses these tactics to gain control and power over the other person.
Financial abuse is another tactic that involves controlling a person’s ability to acquire, use and maintain financial resources. This might include controlling all the money, not allowing the other person to work or forcing them to provide all the money for the household. Financial abuse is such a powerful way to control another person that it happens in 99% of all domestic violence cases.
With the rise of technology, cyber abuse has become an increasingly prevalent form of domestic violence. This involves using technology to harass, intimidate or stalk someone. It can include constant texting, tracking a person’s location without consent or spreading false information online.
Neglect, a more subtle form of abuse, involves failing to provide for a partner’s basic needs like food, clothing, medical care or shelter. While neglect is often associated with children, it also occurs in relationships among adults, especially those who cannot easily care for themselves.
Knowledge is a powerful tool. Understanding the various forms of domestic violence empowers you to identify abusive situations and to seek help when needed. Domestic violence, in any form, is not acceptable and there are resources available to help those who are suffering.