What is Family Violence? Many people believe that family violence is only physical abuse. In fact, violence may be psychological, sexual, social, financial or even spiritual.
Physical Abuse includes hitting, pinching, slapping, pushing, punching, kicking, burning, stabbing or shooting. It may also include threats to cause harm. Psychological/Emotional or Verbal Abuse includes put-downs, name calling, jealousy, isolation from family and friends, and threats to leave the relationship or to commit suicide if the victim does not co-operate. Sexual Abuse includes unwanted touching or sexual activity. It may include control over birth control, forced pregnancies or abortions and transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Financial Abuse occurs when an individual uses finances to control another individual. This could include forcing a person to hand over all or part of their salary or by denying someone access to their own finances. Spiritual Abuse occurs when an individual uses religious or spiritual matters to control another, such as forcing another to follow a particular faith or give up their religion.
All forms of abuse are wrong! Many are against the law.
Family violence can happen to anyone, say persons with disabilities, women, men, youth or seniors. Victims of family violence come from all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Regardless of gender or relationship status, family violence is characterized by a power imbalance, where one person tries to control another. The aggressor often uses intimidation, fear and abuse to maintain that control.
Woman abuse is a primary indicator of child abuse and vice versa. This system of violence in the family is so exact that the family dog tied up in the yard and abused indicates that inside the house the family is being battered, too. Most people who work with children of alcoholics are well aware that these children often suffer from physical violence against them by a drunken parent.
What they may not understand is that these children probably suffer more often because of abuse against their mothers, since woman abuse is even more common than child abuse. Children who have witnessed abuse often suffer low self-esteem, depression, stress disorders, poor impulse control and feelings of powerlessness. They are at high risk for alcohol and drug use, running away, isolation, fear and suicide.