Domestic Violence - 'Are You A Victim' ?

Domestic violence is more common than people realise. Many people suffer with out being aware of what is happening to them. The individual will recognise that they are grossly unhappy, may believe they are imagining their partners behaviour, or they may even think they are going mad.

The victim may be subjected to one or all four areas of abuse:-

1. Physical Violence, the most publicly recognised area of domestic violence. The evidence is obvious, (bruising and/or broken bones) to the rest of society and the most difficult to hide. It can differ between social groups, for example if you live in a small terrace house neighbours may well here the noise/attacks.

It is more difficult to detect if the victim lives in a semi-detached or detached house. Neighbours are less likely to be aware of what is going on. Some abusers only hit the victim in areas of the boby which can not be seen, body blows. This proves the abuser is aware of what they are doing.

2. Emotional control, this is the most damaging area of domestic violence. The victim is made to feel humiliated, less than useless, worthless. What ever the victim does or doesn't do is wrong, they live in fear of getting things wrong. The victim often feels and may be told they are going mad, they may be afraid to see family and friends because of what they will face when they return home. They may be told what to and what not to were, who to and who not to see, what they can and cannot say, etc.

3.Financial Control, the victim may be kept short of money, told what they can and cannot spend and on what. This can also apply when the victim is the main earner, they may have to account for every penny even when money is not in short supply. The aim of the abuser is to keep control and make it impossible for the victim to escape.

4. Sexual Control, the abuser may force themselves (rape) upon the victim, expecting the victim to preforme sex acts, sometimes involving others people. The victim is not in a position to refuse, may not say no, the abuser will not accept this is rape. The situation may be to the other extreme where the abuser will refuse to have sex with the victim; making it clear he/she finds the victim unattractive, the victim will feel worthless and unattractive to anyone. It is also possible that the abuser will threaten to harm other family members if the victim doesn't co-operate.

Both men and women can be victims of domestic violence, only a small percentage of victims come forward for help. Of the few who do more women than men come forward. This may be due to the social stigma still experienced by men, they may feel humiliated that they are being victimised by a woman.

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