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Angels of Hope and Freedom: Domestic Violence Resources

What is Battering and How do I Know if I am Being Abused?
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What is Battering?

Battering is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Battering happens when one person believes they are entitled to control another. Assault, battering and domestic violence are crimes.

Definitions: Abuse of family members can take many forms. Battering may include emotional abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using children, threats, using male privilege, intimidation, isolation, and a variety of other behaviors used to maintain fear, intimidation and power. In all cultures, the perpetrators are most commonly the men of the family. Women are most commonly the victims of violence. Elder and child abuse are also prevalent. Acts of domestic violence generally fall into one or more of the following categories:

         Physical Battering - The abuser’s physical attacks or aggressive behavior can range from bruising to murder. It often begins with what is excused as trivial contacts which escalate into more frequent and serious attacks.

         Sexual Abuse - Physical attack by the abuser is often accompanied by, or culminates in, sexual violence wherein the woman is forced to have sexual intercourse with her abuser or take part in unwanted sexual activity.

         Psychological Battering -The abuser’s psychological or mental violence can include constant verbal abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, isolating the woman from friends and family, deprivation of physical and economic resources, and destruction of personal property.

 

Battering escalates. It often begins with behaviors like threats, name calling, violence in her presence (such as punching a fist through a wall), and/or damage to objects or pets. It may escalate to restraining, pushing, slapping, and/or pinching. The battering may include punching, kicking, biting, sexual assault, tripping, throwing. Finally, it may become life-threatening with serious behaviors such as choking, breaking bones, or the use of weapons.

 

 
 
 
Predictors Of Domestic Violence

The following signs often occur before actual abuse and may serve as clues to potential abuse:

  1. Did he grow up in a violent family? People who grow up in families where they have been abused as children, or where one parent beats the other, have grown up learning that violence is normal behavior.

 

  1. Does he tend to use force or violence to "solve" his problems? A young man who has a criminal record for violence, who gets into fights, or who likes to act tough is likely to act the same way with his wife and children. Does he have a quick temper? Does he over-react to little problems and frustration? Is he cruel to animals? Does he punch walls or throw things when he’s upset? Any of these behaviors may be a sign of a person who will work out bad feelings with violence.

 

  1. Does he abuse alcohol or other drugs? There is a strong link between violence and problems with drugs and alcohol. Be alert to his possible drinking/drug problems, particularly if he refuses to admit that he has a problem, or refuses to get help. Do not think that you can change him.

 

  1. Does he have strong traditional ideas about what a man should be and what a woman should be? Does he think a woman should stay at home, take care of her husband, and follow his wishes and orders?

 

  1. Is he jealous of your other relationships—not just with other men that you may know—but also with your women friends and your family? Does he keep tabs on you? Does he want to know where you are at all times? Does he want you with him all of the time?

 

  1. Does he have access to guns, knives, or other lethal instruments? Does he talk of using them against people, or threaten to use them to get even?

 

  1. Does he expect you to follow his orders or advice? Does he become angry if you do not fulfill his wishes or if you cannot anticipate what he wants?

 

  1. Does he go through extreme highs and lows, almost as though he is two different people? Is he extremely kind one time, and extremely cruel at another time?

 

  1. When he gets angry, do you fear him? Do you find that not making him angry has become a major part of your life? Do you do what he wants you to do, rather than what you want to do?

 

  1. Does he treat you roughly? Does he physically force you to do what you do not want to do?

 

 
 
 
Domestic Violence Checklist:

 

Review the following questions. Think about your relationship and how you are being treated and how you treat your partner. Remember, when one person intentionally scares, hurts or continually puts down the other person, it’s abuse.

 

Does your partner....

____ Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family?

____ Put down your accomplishments or goals?

____ Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions?

____ Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance?

____ Tell you that you are nothing without them?

____ Treat you roughly - grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you?

____ Call you several times a night or show up to make sure you are  

        where you said you would be?

____ Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or

        abusing you?

____ Blame you for how they feel or act?

____ Pressure you sexually for things you aren’t ready for?

____ Make you feel like there "is no way out" of the relationship?

____ Prevent you from doing things you want - like spending time with your

        friends or family?

____ Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere

        after a fight to "teach you a lesson"?

Do You...

____ Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?

____ Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior?

____ Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed

        something about yourself?

____ Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner

        angry?

____ Feel like no matter what you do, your partner is never happy with

        you?

____ Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you

        want?

____ Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner

        would do if you broke up?

If any of these are happening in your relationship, talk to someone. Without some help, the abuse will continue.

 

Adapted from Reaching and Teaching Teens to Stop Violence, Nebraska Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, Lincoln, NE.