Domestic Violence – psychological abuse by Beaumont Todd
THE BAHAMAS CRISIS CENTRE
Domestic Violence – Psychological Abuse
What is emotional Abuse?
Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or mental abuse, is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Such abuse is often associated with situations of power imbalance, such as abusive relationships, bullying, and abuse in the workplace.
“emotional or psychological abuse” means a
pattern of behaviour of any kind, the purpose
of which is to undermine the emotional or
mental well-being of a person including:
(a) persistent intimidation by the use of abusive or threatening language;
(b) depriving that person of the use of his
(c) interfering with or damaging the property
of the person;
(d) the forced confinement of the person;
(e) making unwelcome and repeated or
intimidatory contact with a child or
elderly relative of the person;
Growing up so often we were the told the phrase, “sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us.” How untrue this statement has proven to be. In our society where we are taught to suppress or ignore our feelings and emotions, or that they are inappropriate to express in general society or societal arenas, we have left ourselves both vulnerable and incapable of being able to fully functional as both logical and emotional beings.
The very emotions that act as a warning sign when something is amiss in our hearts, as does our nervous system when our bodies are in pain, we are taught to ignore. However the resultant effect of ignoring such a God given system of identifying the state of our hearts and thoughts leave us very vulnerable to both be exposed to and eventually accept emotional abuse as normal or something we may even consider we deserve. Whether this emotional abuse comes from another or even us, inflicting unhealthy words and thoughts upon ourselves.
Healing the Nation
Domestic violence takes place within an intimate relationship and tends to get more severe and occur more often as time goes on. It can happen to anyone, in all kinds of relationships, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, social standing or age. Women and children are not the only victims of domestic violence. Men are victims of domestic violence as well. There are many reasons why we don’t know more about domestic abuse and violence against men.
First of all, the number of incidents of domestic violence against men appears to be so low that it is hard to get reliable statistics. Also, it has taken years to encourage women to report domestic violence whereas nothing has really been done to encourage men to report abuse. The idea that men could be victims of domestic violence is so unbelievable that most men would not think of reporting the situation. The first reaction most people would have when hearing a man was a victim of domestic violence is “What did HE do?” or “He must have deserved that!” However, violence is never justified, whether it is done to a man or a woman. Most men are reluctant to make a report for fear of being laughed at and considered “less than a man”.
What Can I do to protect myself?
The Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act 2010 (DVPOA) was enacted by Parliament in 2010 yet many persons are unaware of the various remedies it provides, which can be used as instructive ammunition in assisting the fight against domestic violence.
As a result of this legislation, victims are able to seek and enforce swift justice without being burdened and discouraged by the cumbersome processes of having perpetrators either bound over to keep the peace or otherwise brought before the courts on charges of assault, threats of harm or other domestic related offences.
What constitutes an offence under the DVPOA?
Within the definition of the Act, domestic violence includes physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial abuse committed by a person against a spouse, partner, child, or any other person who is a member of the household or dependent. This also would include gender based violence.
What is a protection Order under the DVPOA?
A protection Order is an order of protection for victims who experience domestic violence in the form of a legal injunction which prohibits or requires a party to do or refrain from doing certain acts. A person who does not comply with an order for protection faces penalties which include a fine up to 5,000 dollars or up to 12 months imprisonment.
How long does it take to have an order for protection granted?
Once an offence has been committed, a victim should make an IMMEDIATE application for a protection order through the magistrate courts. The usual process takes between one to three weeks from the time the initial application is made and the order is granted.
What is an emergency protection order?
The courts have the discretion to grant interim protections orders, or “emergency protection orders” on the same day that a victim appears in court. If there is a compelling reason and the victim is in legitimate fear for life or harm, the courts after hearing the evidence on oath in court has the discretion to grant an order for protection prior to having a perpetrator officially brought before the courts.
Do victims require legal representation in order to make an application?
No, victims can appear before the Courts on their own along with any relevant documentary evidence to support the application and will be required to make an oath before a Magistrate who will grant the protection order having heard the evidence of the victim and being satisfied that a protection order is necessary. There are circumstances however depending on the nature and seriousness of cases where representation by an attorney will be the preferred route.
What are the benefits of having a protection order?
Once a protection order is granted, a perfected order can be produced to the police and or the department of social services. If the protection order is not obeyed perpetrators may face a fine of up to 5,000 dollars or imprisonment or both. The penalties attached to these orders are very strict and therefore a deterrent to committing further domestic related offence or otherwise breaching an order for protection.
No One Deserves To Be Abused
What are the signs of a man experiencing Domestic Abuse?
The signs that the men are also victims of domestic violence are very similar to the signs of domestic violence against women.
Some of the signs are:
1) The woman calls the man bad names, insults him (publicly or privately) and tries to put him down every chance she has.
2) The woman tries to stop the man from going to work or to public places. She tries to prevent him from seeing his family members and friends. She isolates him.
3) The woman is excessively possessive and / or jealous and she tries to control her man in terms of the clothes he wears, how he spends his money and the places he can go to.
4) The woman threatens the man with violence and harm, particularly when she is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
5) The woman hits or hurts the man by kicking, punching, biting, slapping, pushing or choking him. The woman waits until the man is sleeping or resting and assaults him with or without a weapon, when he is in no position to defend himself.
6) The woman threatens to leave the man and to take their children with her if he tries to defend himself.
Despite all of the above, the woman blames the man for her behavior and, in many cases, so does society.
What Makes a Woman Violent Against a Man?
Listed below are some reasons why a partner turns violent against a man.
1) The woman is an alcoholic or under the influence of other drugs. As a result, she is not able to control her impulses and gets easily frustrated. If her partner tries to stop her or tries to reason with her, she might get violent and turn against her partner.
2) The woman has psychological problems. Personality disorders may cause a woman to commit domestic violence against the man.
3) The woman has unrealistic expectations or unrealistic demands in terms of material possessions they feel the man should provide for them. They often want more affection and attention from the man and are frustrated when he cannot provide what she wants. In many cases a woman feels she can change the man to how she wants him to be and cannot accept that this is unrealistic. When women who have unrealistic expectations or demands from their partners or husbands get frustrated, depressed, anxious or irritable the result from such reactions may make them violent. In most cases, the woman finds it difficult to accept responsibility for her behavior and therefore does not seek counseling, blaming instead her partner for her behavior.
We should also remember that domestic violence is not always physical and that the scars of verbal or emotional abuse will not be apparent to others. A man who is being verbally or emotionally abused is hardly likely to want to admit to his friends or family that he is hurt or distressed by the abuse. The idea that men could be victims of domestic violence is so unbelievable that most men would not think of reporting the situation. However abuse in any form regardless of who the victim is, is not acceptable and every victim should seek assistance to deal with it.
We are one people created equal by God and for the purpose of loving and being loved. Let us work together to Heal ourselves, families, communities, nation and world.