Abuse isn’t just about bruises. Not all forms of abuse leave bruises where we can see them,Why Domestic Violence Is An Important Issue in South Africa . Although physical abuse is terrifying and needs to be addressed immediately there are other forms of abuse that can cause significant damage. One type of abuse that is very difficult for outsiders to detect is financial abuse. Marriage should be a partnership but when one spouse completely dominates the finances to the point that the other spouse has no control and no options financial abuse may be occurring.
What Are Signs of Potential Financial Abuse?
Every married couple handles their finances differently. In some cases one spouse handles the majority of the finances. They manage the accounts, pay the bills and deal with creditors. That does not by itself equal financial abuse.
Financial abuse occurs when one spouse is treated like an irresponsible child and Domestic Violence History . They are cut off from funds and their knowledge about the couple’s finances is severely limited. Some signs of financial abuse include:
•Strict Allowances. This isn’t an amount that the spouses have agreed to limit themselves to but is instead a set amount that is grudgingly handed out from one spouse to the other and is all that will be given.
Documents, documents, documents. Written evidence is incredibly strong and can range from credit card bills showing that there is a credit card but that you aren’t named on it to emails from your spouse that show the financial abuse.
Other witnesses can be incredibly powerful on your behalf. Financial abuse is hard for people outside the relationship to detect. So when someone credible comes in and tells the judge that it is happening and they can see it the judge will listen and Domestic Violence Facts .
Why Domestic Violence Is An Important Issue in South Africa ?
Domestic violence has so many different facets. Everyone is familiar with the classic physical abuse situation. Honestly, when I was younger, these scenarios would irritate me to no end. I never could understand why a woman would stay with a man that hit her. In my mind, it was just as much her fault for staying as it was his for hitting. I've come to understand that everything happens for a reason. The older I get, the more obvious the events are in the scheme of things. I have not been in a physically abusive relationship, but I'm exiting an emotionally abusive one. Now, I find it hard to believe that anyone gets out of any abusive relationship at all. I understand it all now. I have no bruises, and no broken bones, but make no mistake - I am broken.
These are 4 of the eight defining characteristics of emotional abuse.
- Using Isolation
- Minimizing, denying and blaming
- Using Children
- Using Male Privilege
These might just be four of the classic signs, but let me tell you - when you are in the thick of it, you might not recognize even one as being an issue. Seriously, when I got married, I just came to the conclusion that I had to put up with whatever he dished out because that's how marriages stay together. We all have our faults and I want someone to accept me for mine, so I will accept him for his. This is a flawed way of justifying everything I had to put up with.
Using isolation seems pretty cut and dry, but it's really hard to tell when you are the one isolated. The classic explanation uses the word "control" because that's what it is. But this makes it seem so obvious, and it's not. If your partner is constantly curious as to where you have been and who you have been talking to, then you might be "controlled". Or maybe they love you so much that just the thought of you talking to anyone else, especially of the opposite gender, makes them insanely jealous. You, then, decrease the amount of time you spend out in public, and restrict your activities and conversations just to avoid drama at home. If this sounds familiar, then you have one of eight signs already.
Minimizing, denying and blaming are where we question if this is even really an issue. To bring up a concern in a relationship is just part of the growing process. If the person you express this to seems unwilling to talk about it at that moment, then give it a while and try again. If they never want to talk about any issue you have, then pay close attention. My favorite is acting like it never happened at all. It's like living in a time warp. You bring up an issue, say, the "jealousy" problem. Then, since the other person has "no idea" what you are talking about, you start to question if you imagined the whole thing! Mind games, people!
To use a child in any way, shape or form is bad enough; but when the child is being used as a tool in abuse, it's reprehensible! If you are a mother, then you have one weakness and that is your children. If you come from a divorced family, then you probably want to avoid that for your own children. This person will ask you if you really want your child to come from a broken home like you did. If you want the kids to see their parents fighting - and the answer will be "no" and you will drop it. No one wants to put their kids through hell, so making you question your parenting skills is an easy way for you to "stay in your place".
Using male privilege is what most of us would view as archaic. The thing is, it isn't as cut and dry now days. If you have noticed that he wants to "help you" out by paying all the bills himself, or making that decision to buy a new car alone, then you are experiencing a form of male privilege. Having "your" chores be focused around the home, and his responsibilities are outside of the home is a way to control you. If he flat out treats you like a maid and tells you what your "job" is and what his "job" is, then he's putting you in your place. My favorite saying is, "It wouldn't hurt you to get off your ass and do something."
These are four of the eight signs of emotional abuse. If you read this and find it eerily familiar, then you need to pay attention to your situation. Most likely though, if you read this and find that it hits home, you will try to justify every single one. The control this person has over you is the hardest type to identify and prove because it's them using your emotions and mind against you. They are using you as a weapon of control. There is no harm in asking a few questions. The Domestic Violence Hotline is there to help you. Take the first step and just see if what you think is true has any merit.
Abuse: What Causes Abuse?
To effectively fight domestic violence one must know the causes of domestic violence. And the first step toward knowing that is knowing what they are not.
It is not love, beauty, romance or sexuality. The sexless Puritans are highly violent toward their wives; the unattractive women are just as subject to violence as the attractive ones; and in cultures, such as India and Middle East, that have forbidden romantic love and where marriages are arranged, the violence is worse.
It is not low self-esteem. There are plenty of self-confident football types who are brutal toward their wives and plenty of shy guys who aren't.
It is not personality disorders. Not only are there many cultures in the world where violence against wives is the social norm, but there are in fact cultures in the world that think there's something wrong with the man if he is not violent toward his wife.
It is not thinking oneself a victim. There are plenty of take-charge business and military types who are severely violent toward their wives.
So what are the causes of domestic violence? The best way to ascertain that is to look at cultures in which it is the norm and compare them to cultures in which it isn't. And again and again, the answer is this: The beliefs that encourage domestic violence.
Beliefs such as:
That women are evil;
That man must be head of the family;
That masculinity means controlling the woman;
That women are "sluts," "bitches" or "whores";
That women are exploiters of men;
That women are responsible for the world's suffering;
That women should be second-class citizens and put up and shut up.
Unlike what many in psychology believe, the way one treats the other person is based, not on what one thinks about oneself, but of what one thinks about the other person. So if one has good self-esteem and thinks well about oneself but thinks badly about the other person, then one would not be good to the other person, and no amount of raising one's own self-esteem will alter that. Men's treatment of women is a result, not of what they believe about themselves, but of what they believe about women - either women in general, or about the particular woman with which they share their lives.
Furthermore, unlike what many in psychology believe, it is people's conscious convictions that determine a vast chunk of their decisions. Looking historically we see the vast extent to which people's conscious convictions charted the course of history. And now, as ugly misogynistic beliefs have become more and more prevalent, surprise surprise - we are seeing a vast rise in violence against women, even though we have not seen noticeable changes in men's self-esteem or in the number of people with personality disorders.
And it is only by addressing and changing these ugly beliefs that actually do cause domestic violence, instead of wasting everyone's time on things that don't, that it will finally become possible to do something effective about domestic violence.