A Tribute to Womanhood
Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.
What is Abuse?
Many people who are being abused do not seem themselves as victims...and abusers do not always see themselves as being abusive. In fact, abuse is not always the easiest thing in the world to recognize, even if it is happening to you because some types of abuse are more subtle than others. Some may recognize that something isn't right about the way they are treated, but may be afraid to speak up and name it as abuse for fear of retribution from the abuser. Becoming aware of the forms that abuse can take can help one to label it as abuse. The following list describes various interactions that are examples of abuse.
This one is obvious. Abuse occurs when one person uses physical pain or threat of physical force to intimidate another person. Actual physical abuse may include scratches, bites, kicking, hair pulling, or punching. In particularly violent episodes, people can die from injuries sustained, but physical abuse is abusive even if bruises or physical damage do not occur. The mere threat of physical violence is still considered physical abuse.
Psychological abuse often contains strong emotionally manipulative content which is designed to force the victim to comply with the abuser's wishes. It may be emotional abuse in a sense that it is designed to cause emotional pain; it is being called hurtful names or being put down and humiliated on a regular basis be it in private or in public. The abuser attacks the victim's vulnerabilities while playing mind-games such as withholding approval or affection as punishment. The abuser always claims to be right, and may harass about perceived affairs and ignores feelings.
This includes any sort of unwanted sexual contact perpetrated on a victim by an abuser. Molestation, inappropriate touching, partner rape are all instances of sexual abuse. The abuser may call the victim sexual names or deny her contraception or protection against sexually transmitted diseases. It is forcing one partner to take part in a sexual act when the partner does not give consent. or one partner is coerced into sexual acts that he/she is uncomfortable with, such as sexual activity she/he finds as offensive and degrading. Stalking goes hand-in-hand with domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Verbal abuse occurs when one person uses words or body language to inappropriately criticize another person. It most often involves put downs and name calling which is intended to make the victim feel as if they are not worthy of love...or that they do not have ability or talent to make anything of themselves...a form of emotional abuse. My ex-husband was great for this form of abuse...and after awhile you really start to believe you are worthless. This kind of abuse causes severe damage to the victim's self-esteem and self-worth; it took me years to begin to believe that I was actually worth something.
Economic abuse can be indicated when the batterer controls all of the finances and refuses to allow the victim to work outside of the home.