Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Empathic Victim ~ A look at Domestic Violence

This is a very tough blog to write for me. I've been a victim of domestic violence in more than a few of my past relationships. But I thought it was a topic that should be touched upon, even just in a blog. I'm not going to share my story here, nor am I asking anyone to share theirs with me.

I wanted to go over, even if just for my own benefit, what an empathic victim of domestic violence is. The empathic victim is any person, male or female, who is bound within a violent relationship.

Did you think I was only going to talk about Empaths? I am talking about Empaths. Even a normal person caught in a violent relationship will attune themselves to read the swiftly changing moods of their abusers, in order to anticipate what is to follow . This is, essentially what we do, without the added trauma of being abused (hopefully).

Here are a few links that seemed worthwhile to give you some information on domestic abuse and battered women's syndrome.

Join Stop Domestic Violence Campaign and Break the silence



And here are some definitions of abuse, as quoted from: http://petercrys.blogspot.com/2007/08/forms-of-domestic-violence-against.html

Intimidation: Includes destroying her possessions, smashing things, putting a fist through the wall, handling of guns or other weapons, using intimidating body language, hostile questioning of the victim, reckless driving of vehicle with victim in the car. It may include harassing the victim at her workplace either by making persistent phone calls or sending text messages or emails, following her to and from work, or loitering near her workplace.

Verbal abuse: Includes screaming, shouting, put-downs, name-calling, using sarcasm, ridiculing her for her religious beliefs or ethnic background.

Physical abuse: Can range from a lack of consideration for her physical comfort to causing permanent injury or even death. It could include such behaviour as pushing, hitting, choking, slapping, hair-pulling, punching etc. and may or may not involve the use of weapons. It could also be threats to, or actually destroying prized possessions.

Emotional abuse: Is a behaviour that deliberately undermines the confidence of victim, leading her to believe she is stupid, or that she is 'a bad mother' or useless or even to believe she is going crazy or is insane. This type of abuse humiliates, degrades and demeans the victim. The perpetrator may make threats to harm the victim, friend or family member, threaten to take her children, or to commit suicide. Or the perpetrator may use silence and withdrawal as a means to abuse.

Social abuse: Includes isolating the victim from social networks and supports either by preventing the victim from having contact with her family or friends or by verbally or physically abusing her in public or in front of others. It may be continually putting friends and family down so she is slowly disconnected from her support network.

Economic abuse: Results in the victim being financially dependent on their partner. She may be denied access to money, including her own, demanding that she and her children live on inadequate resources. These can be contributing factors for women becoming 'trapped' in violent relationships.

Sexual abuse: Includes a range of unwanted sexual behaviours including forced sexual contact, rape, forcing her to perform sexual acts that cause pain or humiliation, forcing her to have sex with others, causing injury to her sexual organs.

Controlling behaviours: Includes dictating what she does, who she sees and talks to, where she goes, keeping her from making any friends or from talking to her family, or having any money of her own. This can include preventing her from going to work, not allowing her to express her own feelings or thoughts, not allowing her any privacy, forcing her to go without food or water.

Spiritual abuse: Includes ridiculing or putting down her beliefs and culture, or preventing her from belonging to, or taking part in a group that is important to her spiritual beliefs, or practising her religion.

Separation violence: Often after the relationship has ended violence may continue, this can be a very dangerous time for the victim because the perpetrator may perceive a loss of control over the victim and may become more unpredictable. During and after seperation is often a time when violence will escalate leaving the victim more unsafe than previously.

Stalking: Sometimes the victim is stalked by the perpetrator either before or after separation. Stalking includes loitering around places she is known to frequent, watching her, following her, making persistent telephone calls and sending mail including unwanted love letters, cards and gifts although the relationship has ended. Stalking is a criminal offence, under the stalking legislation more than one type of behaviour has to occur, or the same type of behaviour has to occur on more than one occasion.

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from domestic violence, seek help or urge them to seek help. You aren't alone. And there is a world beyond the end of your abuser's fist just waiting for you.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this. It is my hope, that those that need help "find themselves" and get out. It is one of the hardest things. "breaking away" it can feel harder than staying with the abuser. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give. For yourself, and other women. Please take the step. Do not think of why you can't, or now's not a good time. Choose life. God Bless...