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Understanding the Different Types of Domestic Violence

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Unfortunately, domestic violence is a prevalent problem in today's world. The rate of individuals affected by domestic violence continues to increase and many men and women have been exposed to at least one form of domestic violence.

The number of individuals that have been affected by some form of domestic abuse is shocking. About 20 people per minute or more than ten million men and women are physically abused every year by their partner. When you consider other types of abuse including mental, economic, stalking, and sexual abuse; those numbers increase.

Domestic abuse can affect the victim and their family more than just physically. The victim might suffer emotionally and rates of suicide and depression increase with domestic violence. With one in four women and one in seven men being the victims of domestic violence, this problem may be bigger than previously thought.

Not all cases of domestic violence include physical abuse. Domestic violence can include emotional, sexual, verbal, or even economic abuse. A shocking number of domestic abuse cases include multiple types of abuse. Recognizing the different types of abuse can help you to better understand abusive situations and to create an action plan to remove yourself from danger.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional, or psychological abuse, is when one person treats the other in a way that could result in psychological trauma. Emotional abuse could include frequent anger, criticism, excessive control, pressure, and even threatening physical abuse. Severe emotional abuse can lead to anxiety, depression and other psychological conditions.

It can be more difficult to identify and prove emotional abuse. Although emotional abuse does not leave physical scars or injuries, it can still have lifelong consequences that are sometimes more difficult to get through. Emotional domestic violence is equally as serious as physical violence. Emotional abuse can also affect children if they are raised in an emotionally abusive environment.

Sexual Abuse

Any forced form of sexual activity is considered sexual abuse. Additionally, using a threat of violence or ultimatums can cross over into emotional abuse.

Some spouses feel guilt surrounding sexual violence and sexual assault. They may place blame on themselves, thinking that their marriage vows to subject them to sexual activity. This is not the case. Marriage or the commitment of a relationship does not indicate consent. Physical or sexual control is abusive and can be dangerous. Approximately 8 out of 10 rape cases include a situation in which the victim knew the attacker. In many cases, the attacker may be a partner or spouse.

Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse includes any threatening or damaging verbal behavior toward the victim. Some spouses wrongly believe that as long as their spouse is not laying a hand on them, their behavior is not considered abusive. Verbal abuse can lead to severe psychological consequences, making it just as serious as physical abuse.

Verbal abuse is sometimes used in an effort to prevent the abused party from leaving the relationship. By using coercive control through verbal abuse, one party may be too afraid to leave. Verbal abuse often follows a dangerous cycle, leading many partners to believe that the abuser is improving only to become abusive again.

Economic Abuse

When financial or economic resources are used to manipulate the behaviors of a spouse, it is considered economic abuse. Both parties in a relationship should have equal access to the household's resources. When one party is denied those resources, the abuser is taking away their partner's power and control.

Financial abuse can make it difficult to take action. You might feel like you do not have the necessary funds or ability to leave an abusive relationship. This is one of the most common forms of violence against women.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is the most talked about form of domestic violence. Physical abuse includes any physically abusive behaviors. It can also include serious threats of harm or even withholding necessary items such as healthcare or food. Physical abuse often presents an immediate danger.

It may affect the entire family or solely affect the spouse. About 15 million children witness physical violence in the home every year. Physically abusive relationships can increase in intensity, putting the entire family in danger. It is important to evaluate your options if you are in an abusive relationship and create a plan to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.

What To Do If You Are In An Abusive Situation

Many violent relationships include more than one type of abuse. Even a single act of abuse can encompass multiple types of domestic violence. It can be overwhelming to take action in an abusive relationship. You may wonder if you are partially to blame or if you are overreacting.

Suffering domestic violence is never your fault. Always talk to someone you trust. Family members may not be aware that an abusive relationship exists. They may be able to help you. If there is no one that you can trust, there are resources available for people in abusive situations.

It is important to prepare a plan should you find yourself in a dangerous household. Abusive relationships rarely improve without help. It is likely that the situation will only get worse and you are putting yourself, and possibly your children, in danger. Work with a family lawyer to put the necessary steps in place to gain temporary custody and to remove you and your family from the dangerous situation.

If you are in an abusive situation, it is important to take action immediately. Arizona residents have resources available to them that will help remove victims from a harmful environment. If you need domestic violence assistance, reach out to one of the following organizations:

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence: 602-279-2900
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673
  • Maricopa County Shelter Line: 480-890-3039

The legal team at West, Longenbaugh, and Zickerman are here to help you navigate the complex legal system as it relates to family law and domestic violence situations. Our experienced lawyers will work to get you the safety and protection that you deserve. We understand the complexities that surround domestic violence.

We can assist you in understanding your legal options according to Arizona laws including mandatory arrest laws, filing for a protective order, and with navigating the penalties often involved in domestic violence cases. Reach out to us today at 520-214-8673.

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