When it comes to domestic violence, women are victimized the most. Victims of violence and abuse are often in denial or just hope things will get better only to be victimized again. It is important to recognize the typical tactics of an abuser to determine if you may be a victim of an abuse:
- Isolating a victim from family and friends. Domestic abuse and isolation are inextricably intertwined and starts with an abuser driving an emotional wedge between the victim and their family and friends. Sometimes the victim starts to accept that the abuser is the only one who really understands them and is there to support them. Other times a victim may be embarrassed by an abuser’s behavior and withdraw from relationships. Lacking an outside support system, a victim is more vulnerable to continued abuse.
- Intimidation and coercion through menacing looks, gestures or actions. Sometimes called symbolic aggression, abusers may use verbal or physical gestures aimed at terrorizing, threatening, or controlling a victim like stalking, destroying, hiding a victim’s property or using physical means to intimidate a victim such as blocking their path or driving recklessly.
- Calling a victim demeaning names is a big red flag signaling abuse. By verbally bashing a partner or spouse, an abuser can exert control over a victim’s self-woth making it difficult for them to escape a cycle of abuse.
- Physical or emotional threats directed at the victim, their children or other loved ones to control the victim. Unfortunately, when physical and emotional threats or actions lose their shock value, an abuser may turn their abusive attention to a victim’s children or family members to maintain control/power over a victim.
- Economic abuse, where the victim is discouraged or prevented from holding a job through various tactics or have little or no control over personal finances.
- Minimizing violence or blaming the victim when particularly violent or emotionally distressing incidents occur. Normalizing or rationalizing behavior or telling a victim they are to blame are common excuses for abusive behavior.
- Manipulating or otherwise involving children to control the victim.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse it is important to seek help. If you are in an emergency situation contact authorities immediately. For others, the National Domestic Violence Hotline or local domestic violence shelters have resources to help you. Many times a victim of domestic violence is reluctant to seek help because they do not want to cause problems for their family or they are embarrassed by the situation in they are in.
However, it is important to remember that information is empowering. It is worth discussing your situation to understand what options are available to you as a victim of domestic abuse so you can make the best decisions for yourself. Services such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline are completely confidential and anonymous, and have advocates with extensive training in issues related to domestic violence and may be a good place to start.
If you are a victim of domestic violence and are considering a divorce or separation, it is important to work with an attorney who understands your situation and can take steps to protect you and your children. Attorney Ronald L. Bell can help you. Contact the Libertyville Illinois Law Offices of Ronald L. Bell & Associates for immediate assistance today at 847-495-6000.