Domestic violence, intimate partner violence, family violence — these are terms muddled with stereotypes. For instance, the man is labelled a batterer, the victim a battered woman. But perhaps one of the biggest myths about this issue is that domestic violence is only something physical.
The Seemingly Harmless Effect of Non-Physical Abuse
The belief that domestic violence is physical probably stemmed from the thinking that constant verbal threats, criticisms and accusations are common, and that only sticks and stones can hurt. While it does not involve bruises, broken bones and scars, non-physical abuse can lead to depression and chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
And with the increasing number of cases related to it, now is the time to talk about it openly.
Telltale Signs of the Hard-to-Quantify Psychological Violence
Emotional or physiological violence can be harder to quantify. It is subtle and covert. Wellington lawyers from Rainey Collins Lawyers may tell you that there are still telltale signs.
One way to know if a person is a victim of non-physical domestic violence is when the partner goes out of his or her way to make the other person feel ridiculed, ashamed, degraded or put down. Of course, Wellington lawyers and psychologists say this does not refer to the occasional fight or ups and downs of any normal relationship; it refers to patterns over time.
The partner may also control or withhold money, sabotaging childcare, transportation or other arrangements. It may also involve harassing the victim at work and making it generally difficult to find (or keep) a job.
Belittling the victim’s dreams and aspirations, as well as constantly reminding them of their shortcomings and flaws, is also a sign of non-physical abuse. This plays into the insecurities of the victim, which often results in them staying in the abusive relationship fearing no one else will ‘love’ or ‘accept’ them.
Proving the Issue in Court
It can be hard to prove this issue in court, as the victim does not wear the evidence on their skin (eg bruises, scars, etc) or have medical records. One way to do it is to hire a therapist specialising in such type of abuse. This professional will help strengthen the case as a third party perspective. An advocate from a domestic violence shelter may testify on the victim’s behalf as well.
But of course, it still pays to talk to an attorney regarding the case.
It is never too late to see and act against psychological abuse and control. If you or someone you know experiencing this type of abuse, reach out. There is help available.