Abuse isn’t just about bruises. Not all forms of abuse leave bruises where we can see them,Why Domestic Violence Is Not Okay 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 Guidelines . 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 Groups .
Why Domestic Violence Is Not Okay in South Africa ?
It can be difficult to describe what abuse is and this is because the word 'Abuse' can mean different things to different people. For one person it might relate to emotional pain, for another it might involve physical pain. With there being different degrees of pain and hurt within these two forms of violence.
As a general guideline: this could be behaviour that occurs here and there, without it happening often enough to cause too many problems. Or it could be experienced to such an extreme that one's life becomes unbearable.
In this analysis I am going to be looking at what I currently believe causes abusive behaviour and the type of individual that commits abusive behaviour on a regular basis.
The Dictionary.com Definition
Here, it is described as the following:
• To use wrongly or improperly; misuse: to abuse one's authority.
• To treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way: to abuse a horse.
• To abuse one's eyesight; to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign.
• To commit sexual assault upon: Obsolete - to deceive or mislead.
What comes to mind when I think of abusive, is compromise. When one is abused they are not being respected or treated in a humane way, they are being treated as objects. The abused person's feelings do not register to the abuser and if they are recognised, it is not enough to end the behaviour.
Empathy And Compassion
If one can't feel their own feelings, it is then a lot easier to do destructive things to another. The question is: why wouldn't the abuser have the ability to empathise or to be compassionate with another person?
It is said that the ability to empathise and to be compassionate is developed through caregivers that display the same behaviours to their children. This is also known as healthy mirroring and validation. What also happens through this process is that the child feels noticed and acknowledged, which are of paramount importance for the development of a healthy sense of self.
It could be said that because of their past, the person that displays abusive behaviour is abusing themselves just as much, if not more than they are abusing others. This is because the original abuser has been internalised. And even if the original abuser is not longer alive or around; they still have the potential to exist in the mind of the abuser or abused.
Here the voice exists like a parasite in the mind, merging with the mind and this makes it hard to notice and eliminate.
This shows that it is typically a two way relationship. With people who have been abused being more likely to be attracted to an abuser. If one has been abused in their younger years and it has not been looked at processed, the mind will then continue to associate this as what familiar and safe.
It will also mean that the abused will put up with this behaviour later in life. If this is what they have experienced as a child, one will then think that it is normal and all they deserve.
If one was abused by their own caregivers, it is only normal for them to assume that this is how people are that that the world is therefore unsafe and dangerous. And also that people can't be trusted.
To experience abuse can be extremely traumatising; with the consequences of abuse having the potential to last a life time. Time is said to be one of the greatest healers. Being around supportive people that one can feel safe around and who can listen without judgement is equally important.
This could be in the form of friends, family or a therapist. Here they will listen and acknowledge what is being said without judgement or blame. This is a process that cannot be rushed, and will happen in its own time and when one is ready to face what has happened. There is not a right or wrong time, only the time when one feels ready to undertake such an important step.
Financial Abuse By A Spouse
Domestic/family abuse can have many forms, including physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, economic deprivation, and threats of violence. Abuse is typically progressive; oftentimes emotional and psychological abuse is a precursor for violent and criminal forms. According to the US Department of Justice's 2005 Family Violence Statistics report, family violence accounted for 11% of all reported and unreported violence between 1998 and 2002, totaling a staggering 3.5 million violent crimes. The report indicates 49% were crimes against spouses, 11% were sons or daughters victimized by a parent, and 41% were crimes against other family members.
Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate, it occurs in all cultures; people of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexes and classes can be perpetrators or victims of this violence. Yet, research indicates that certain demographics and subgroups are more prominent as victims and as offenders. For example, according to the American Medical Association, as many as 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime as compared to 15% of victims being men.
With family violence also comes the intergenerational cycle of violence. In 1 in 3 domestic violence incidents, the victims had children in common with the offender, and in 1 in 4 incidents, there were multiple victims. Children and youth exposed to violence are likely to develop behavioral problems, such as regressing, exhibiting out of control behavior, and other behaviors that mirror those which they were exposed. Unfortunately, this cycle produces children who may think that violence is an acceptable behavior of intimate relationships and thus, become either the abused or the abuser. An estimated 1/5 to 1/3 of teen-aged youth subject to viewing domestic violence situations experience teen dating and intimate partner violence, regularly abusing or being abused by their partners verbally, mentally, emotionally, sexually and/or physically. Hence, the average age of the abused and the abuser as it relates to juvenile domestic violence is 16. Family violence research indicates that juvenile domestic violence offenders are more likely to be male; approximately 90% of this violence is targeted towards women. If not prevented or addressed, youth continue the cycle into adulthood; 30-50% of dating relationships can exhibit the same cycle of escalating violence in their marital relationships.
This cycle must be broken. One solution is to address the significant need for family violence abuse prevention and intervention treatment specifically targeting violence and abuse saturated areas. Thankfully there are several organizations with this mission in mind as well as funding available to aid this undertaking, giving hope for domestic violence reduction in our future.