What do we mean by abuse?
When we talk about abuse, we have to define what we mean. WHO defines domestic abuse as having physically aggressive acts, psychological abuse, forced intercourse or other kind of forcing with a sexual nature and different kinds of controlling, such as isolating a person from her family and friends or to limit the access to information and other help.
The abuse is much more than the physical violence, most often it´s about control and power. We know that domestic abuse also happens in same sex relationships, and to transgender persons, but in most cases the perpetrator is a man and the victim is a woman. So we will now call the perpetrator a man, and the victim a woman. How that manifests itself can be described like this:
When he, directly or indirectly threatens or scares you. He violates you verbally, tries to isolate you, blackmails you emotionally (threatens to reveal secrets or threatens to kill himself if you leave him), embarrasses you in front of others, or uses the children against you (for example he might threaten to take the children away from you if you divorce him).
It can also be that he keeps you awake at night, makes you economically dependent of him or makes sure you don’t get medical care.
In many cases the abuse is so severe that it looks like a complete brainwashing. You can be fooled to think that you´re going crazy and no longer can tell the difference between fantasy and reality, and therefore can´t tell if you´re being harassed, isolated, threatened or economically controlled or not.
Children don´t even have to be directly psychologically abused to be affected severely. It´s enough that they have to witness it.
If you are subjected to physical abuse, you are always also subjected to psychological abuse.
By this we mean all types of physical contact that the man uses to control the woman.
So, as you see, the violence doesn’t have to be so severe that you need emergency care. Every physical contact which is meant to scare and control another person is physical abuse. It can be that he pushes you, forces you down on the bed, doesn´t allow you to move by holding you, brakes or hurts things near you. It can be that he locks you in in a room, or doesn’t let you in if you’re outside, pulls your hair, bites you, slaps you in the face, twists your arm, punches you, strangles you, burns or kicks you. Throws you down the stairs or uses a weapon against you.
It´s important to remember that it is just as serious with “lighter” kinds of violence, like pushes and such, since this to can lead to death if you for example falls the wrong way or you hit your head on a doorknob.
The abuse is rarely haphazard or chaotic, instead it´s targeted and functional. You can see this for example when the violence is targeted to the body, where it doesn’t leave a visible mark, or at the genitals, which is especially offensive and degenerative.
Sexual abuse is not "just" about rape. It can for example also be that he forces you to watch porn or to masturbate against your will. If he wants to have sex after he physically abuses you, and you are afraid to say no.
Can be that he takes out a loan in your name (if this happens and you get divorced or separated, you are forced to keep paying the loans, since they are in your name). Or that you´re forced to sign deals or keep subscriptions in your name, but that he uses. Or if he takes your salary, and only gives you what he thinks you should have.
When he slams doors or walls or brakes furniture. It can also be that he destroys or makes you destroy things that are important to you.
Non active violence
This can be the main way of abuse, when there have been violence before. Even if physical violence doesn’t happen as much anymore, it can still be present in the way that it can still happen. It´s enough that he just looks over at the kitchen knives for you to be scared and do what he wants.