By Margarita Nahapetyan
Spousal abuse is a very difficult behavior to define because it embraces a number of symptoms involving both physical and emotional abuse. Physical abuse includes physical violence, such as beating, hitting, shoving, and any other physical assault that is considered as deliberate. And emotional abuse is characterized by behavior that is aimed to humiliate verbally, to ridicule, to put-down, to criticize, to demean or just simply neglect another partner.
Spousal abuse is a very serious pattern of behavior that may be caused by a number of different factors. The violence often begins with a verbal humiliation and emotional abuse and, eventually intensifies and increases until it reaches a form of a physical abuse. Abusers usually say and do things to shame or insult. They mock the victim in private as well as in front of other people, telling the victims they are ugly, fat, too skinny, stupid, miserable, lazy, etc. In fact, many victims consider verbal abuse more painful than an open physical abuse. Long after the bruises, scars and broken bones from physical abuse heal, verbal abuse is still stuck deep inside a victim's soul.
One of the reasons of a person becoming violent can be a learned behavior that a child observes in a family and later repeats in his own adult relationships. Studies show that abusers are often motivated by insecurity and lack of power, which really provides a false sense of control. Abusers can also be motivated by an unhealthy feeling of possessiveness and jealousy. Although abusers can come from different backgrounds, there are some common features that have been found among them. An abuser often has poor communication skills, wants to dominate and be in control of everything, blames other people for his abusive actions, has almost no control of his impulses, and suffers from a low self esteem. They constantly want to show a power over the victim. They control, they manipulate, and they try to threaten the victim.
Spousal, or domestic abuse comprises the entire set of abusive behaviors - sexual, emotional, psychological, financial, physical, psychological, and verbal. Everything is directed mostly at the abuser's spouse, mate, girlfriend, or boyfriend. So why such an attitude is being tolerated in many cases? Why does a victim still stay in the abusive environment? What can be actually done about such demeanor, especially when it is hard, or sometimes even impossible to prove?
Very often classic abusers send a message to their victims that they are responsible for their negative attitude, that they failed in most of the roles to be fulfilled, and that if it was not for them the victim would be completely helpless. Victims of abuse eventually start believing that they are weak and powerless and that they will never be able to survive without their partner.
For many people in a non-abusive situation it is not clear as to why the victim just doesn't walk away from the abuser. They don't understand that for most of the victims a great fear factor plays a major role in their decision to stay. They are afraid that if they leave, it will make an abuser even angrier and more violent, when they realize that they are not in control anymore. One spousal abuse term paper wrote, "The number one reason for not leaving is fear. According to the FBI, up to 40% of female homicides in any given year occur when the woman decides to leave the abusive relationship." In addition to fear, there are also a number of other reasons that motivate the victims to stay, such as shame, isolation, and their religious beliefs. In many cases the financial difficulties make it hard to leave the abuser, and if the children are involved, is becomes an impossible thing to do.
Physical abuse is more simple to describe and recognize than all the other types of abuse. Abusers attack their partner and sometimes even the children. This would include kicking, slapping, choking, and even threatening with a weapon. Sufferers may have also different objects thrown at them, be thrown out of a house, or, just the opposite, be forbidden to leave a house or an apartment. Threats also may be considered as abuse, such as threats to hurt the victim or the children. Very often abusers forbid the victim to work or get out to socialize with family members or friends. They may destroy or threaten to destroy personal belongings of the victim.
Today a modern society has much more information and awareness of the spouse abuse than it used to have in the past years. Before, even if a gross case of a violent act was reported to the authorities, the law was not eager to interfere. The man was always considered as a master and ruler in his own house and no one else wanted to get involved. Presently, the views of the society have changed. If a man or a woman are being abused, there are now many organizations who are ready to be there for victims, offering them help, advice and information.
So what can be done if you are a victim of spousal or partner abuse? Therapy and counseling can help some victims, but it is close people and a society in general who are the ones to really help. The victim needs to know and to believe that they do not deserve to be abused, that it is not them to blame for the situation. They need to be assured that help is available for them, and assisted in finding that help. It is good to know where local shelters are, in order to be able to leave an abusive home. A police escort can be requested if there is a danger of physical threat. Spouse abuse is a long standing problem, and fortunately, there are many effective survivors who were able to overcome all the hardships, and successfully started a new life. People who treat, teach, give advice and support cannot do better than just simply join hands with sufferers and be there for them.