How to identify if you are a victim of domestic abuse and what to do about it?

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Domestic abuse exists between spouses or partners who are in a marital relationship or an intimate one where one partner uses force and coercion to intimidate or humiliate the other partner. Any kind of physical force or violence used can be called domestic abuse. The most common pattern observed in the case of domestic violence oscillates between being violent and abusive to apologetic behaviour.

A victim of this kind of abuse can be either of the partners and this kind of violence exists in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. The main elements to identify are physical violence along with intimidation and humiliation, varying from case to case.

The different types are:

• physical abuse (domestic violence)

• verbal or nonverbal abuse (psychological abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse)

• sexual abuse

• stalking or cyber stalking

• economic abuse or financial abuse

• spiritual abuse

How to identify yourself as a victim of domestic abuse?

It is best if you are able to identify yourself as a victim in the early stages of domestic abuse as it makes escaping a toxic relationship easier. Listed below are a few signs which indicate if you are a victim:

Physical violence/torture: This is the easiest form of identification as a victim. If your partner physically threatens or assaults you often, you should not hesitate to identify yourself as a victim. Statistics claim that in cases of physical violence, most partners keep shut which encourages the other partner to carry on and become more brutal with passing time.

Name-calling, constant bickering and verbal abuse are some initial danger signs which might go on to become domestic abuse later on.

Mood swings and extreme bouts of anger are also signs that your partner is mentally unstable or psychologically disturbed which causes them to engage in domestic abuse as they consider that to be a vent for their anger.

Forceful sex: If your partner forces you to have sex on a regular basis when you do not want to, you could count on it as the onset of abuse. However, the abusers often become very aggressive or hurt their partners during intercourse. Thus, a recurring forceful sex routine is something which should bother you.

Also, a lot of abusers force their partners to do things they are not comfortable with during sex which acts as a pre-cursor to physical abuse.

• Controlling behaviour: Often the abuser starts out by trying to control your actions and this situation soon progresses for the worse when s/he is in control of your finances and freedom.

• Hypersensitivity: An abuser often displays symptoms of hypersensitivity as s/he unleashes display of verbal or physical abuse at the slightest provocation.

• Dual personalities: This is a very tricky indication to look out for but on observing closely, you will notice the shifts in the mood of your abuser from being congenial and cheery to abusive, moody and violent at the drop of a hat.

How to deal with domestic abuse if you’re a victim?

After identifying yourself as a victim of domestic abuse of sorts, your first step should be to try and save yourself from unfavourable situations.

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Here’s how you can get out of a sticky situation like domestic abuse:

Confide in people you trust

It is absolutely necessary for you as a victim to tell somebody about the situation you are in. The person you choose to confide in can be anybody as long as they are able to help you be safe. Confiding in somebody also reduces the amount of mental trauma these situations bring about.

Call for help

As soon as you see a situation approaching, call or text someone for help. If you cannot think of anyone, call the police. Just a threat of calling the police might stop the abuser from physically harming you. If possible, call on the various help lines which aid women/men in distress.

You cannot afford to simply sit quiet when you have done nothing wrong. It is necessary to lodge a complaint with the police in order to prevent your abuser from injuring you further.

Seek medical treatment

It is advisable that you nurse your injuries back to health. If you are a victim who has been critically injured, it is best to see a doctor who can evaluate your condition. A report of the injuries can aid you in legal matters as well.
Tip: If possible, before nursing your injury, take photographs of the wounds as they would suffice as proof of domestic abuse.

Get out of the toxic relationship

There is no point of staying in a relationship which you know is toxic and in no case, going to become better in the future. It is best to leave the relationship for your physical safety and mental well-being.

  • Written byNiharika Nandi

    Niharika Nandi is a media trainee who loves exploring the fields of photography and baking simultaneously. She’s a self-proclaimed professional bathroom singer and believes that caffeine runs through her veins. This adrenaline junkie loves to pen down a million thoughts gushing through her mind at any instant and is very vocal about LGBTQ rights.


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