- Wilful intimidation
- Physical assault
- Sexual assault
- Verbal abuse
- Psychological violence
- Emotional abuse
One wouldn’t associate these with romantic relationships, right? Unfortunately abuse in intimate relationships is startlingly common. It can happen in marriage or even before marriage; while women are victimised more often, men are abused too. Abuse can also happen in same-sex relationships and across caste and community, age groups and economic levels.
Often when people hear about domestic abuse, they think of physical violence. But abuse can be verbal, emotional and psychological too. While it sometimes escalates from threats and verbal abuse into physical violence, that is not always the case.
The impact of physical violence is most visible, but all forms of abuse can have lasting and devastating consequences on the victim. It makes you feel helpless and alone, destroys your self-worth, can lead to anxiety and depression. Fear becomes a part of life and you might feel like you are living on eggshells, not knowing what will upset the abuser next.
The abuser often uses fear, shame and guilt to gain and maintain control over you. Power and control is almost always at the root of abuse. Abusers use dominance, humiliation, threats and intimidation to gain control, isolate you from others and manipulate you by making excuses and often blaming you for their behaviour, apologising and even promising never to hurt you. And they almost always say it’s only because they “love you so much”. But the abuse doesn’t stop.
No one should live in fear of the person they love. No one should have to experience this kind of pain – if you or someone you know is experiencing any form of abuse, do reach out. There is help available.