Learn the Signs of Abuse and Be Aware of Your Rights in These Cases
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is not only a legal and a moral issue; it is also a health issue. That is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have taken it upon themselves to offer a comprehensive definition of the term to help Americans identify and solve this issue. According to the CDC, intimate partner violence describes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. Although this type of violence typically happens between heterosexual and same-sex couples, violence does not require sexual intimacy in order to be considered intimate partner violence.
IPV takes place in all settings and in all socioeconomic, religious, ethnic, and cultural groups. However, most of the burden of IPV is endured by women, and the most common perpetrators of violence against women are male intimate partners or ex-partners. It is common for women who are experiencing IPV not to see themselves as victims, which can make these situations difficult to identify.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Most people associate IPV with physical harm, but this is not the only sign of this kind of abuse. Emotional abuse is another form of IPV that can be a bit more difficult to recognize. One of the most common traits of emotional abuse is unrealistic expectations. Some ways that this might play out in real life include:
- Making unreasonable demands
- Expecting the other individual to put all else aside in order to meet their needs
- Demanding that you spend all of your time together
- Being dissatisfied no matter how much the other individual tries
- Criticizing the other individual for not completing a task according to their standards
- Not allowing the other individual to have their own opinions
- Demanding that the other individual give them an exact layout of their whereabouts
Another common trait that emotionally abusive individuals share is invalidating the other person. Some ways that this can play out include:
- Undermining, dismissing, or distorting your perceptions of reality
- Refusing to accept your feelings by attempting to determine how you should feel
- Requiring you to explain your feelings repeatedly
- Dismissing your requests, wants, and needs as unwarranted
- Refusing to acknowledge or accept opinions or ideas as valid
- Suggesting that your perceptions are wrong or cannot be trusted
- Making false accusations
Another common trait amongst those who are emotionally abused is that they create chaos in your life. Some ways that they can do this include:
- Starting arguments for the sake of arguing
- Making contradictory statements
- Having drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts
- Being overly critical of your appearance and other characteristics
- Behaving erratically and unpredictably
Emotional blackmail is another form of emotional abuse. This includes actions like the following:
- Manipulating and controlling by making the other person feel guilty
- Humiliating the person in public or private
- Using the person’s fears against them
- Exaggerating their flaws in order to avoid responsibility
- Denying that an event took place
- Punishing the individual by withholding affection
Questions to Ask About an Abusive Relationship
There are many signs of an abusive relationship, and there are some important questions to ask that will help you determine whether or not you are in one. Domestic abuse escalates from threats and verbal assault to violence. The physical injury might be the most obvious sign of abuse, but there are other ways to determine whether or not you are being abused as well. Some important questions to ask yourself that will help you discover this include:
- Do you feel afraid of your partner?
- Do you avoid specific topics out of fear of angering your partner?
- Do you feel that you cannot do anything right for your partner?
- Do you believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
- Do you feel emotionally numb or helpless?
- Does your partner have an unpredictable temper?
- Does your partner threaten to hurt or kill you?
- Does your partner threaten to take your children away or harm them?
- Does your partner threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
- Does your partner force you to have sex?
- Does your partner destroy your belongings?
- Does your partner act overly jealous and possessive?
- Does your partner control where you go or what you do?
- Does your partner prevent you from seeing your friends or family?
Do Domestic Abuse Cases Go to Court?
Domestic violence cases might be dealt with in a Specialist Domestic Violence Court, which is a type of Magistrates’ Court that specializes in domestic violence cases. At The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch, we are dedicated to providing high-quality legal representation to those who are going through these situations. As a victim of domestic violence, it is important to understand your rights and to understand that both parties are entitled to a lawyer. Your rights as a domestic violence victim include the following:
- You have the right to tell your employer that you are the victim of domestic violence. Your employer is required to keep this information confidential unless it needs to be disclosed by federal or state law to protect you in the workplace.
- If you inform your employer that you are the victim of domestic violence, you have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodations while at work.
- You have the right to take time off work to go to the police or the courts for you or your children’s protection from domestic violence. You also have the right to go to a licensed medical professional, healthcare provider, or counselor.
- If your employer has 25 or more employees, you can take time off for medical treatment of injuries caused by domestic violence in order to receive services from a domestic violence shelter or program, to receive counseling, or to participate in safety planning or other actions as a result of domestic violence.
- If you believe your employer has taken action against you because you exercised any of these rights or because your employer knows that you are a victim of domestic violence, you can bring a retaliation claim against the employer.
If you want to learn more about the laws surrounding domestic violence, call The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch at (559) 484-2112 or contact us online.