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What You Should Know About Domestic Physical Abuse

Abuse is Not an Act of Rage

Everywhere we look we see violence - in movies, on the news and in many of the computer games that we give our children to play with. Its not surprising then that domestic violence and abuse is often overlooked or excused.

Contrary to what many people think abusive behavior rarely occurs as a result of the abuser's inability to control his behavior. Abusive behavior is a deliberate action that the abuser chooses to perform in order to manipulate and control another person.

Why abuse is a choice and not uncontrollable rage:

  • The abuser does not batter other people - he only batters his victim in the privacy of his own home.
  • He can stop the abuse if interrupted by a knock on the door or a phone call.
  • The abuser directs his hitting and punching to places that can easily be concealed.

Stop The Abuse.........Stop The Insanity

They found her body in a rubbish dump

All mangled and covered in dirt

A lover’s quarrel , one drink too many

Something said that made him hurt

He pleaded insanity is what the newsman said

He was insane – does that make her less dead?

I’m pretty sure she had heard that excuse before

Was that how he tricked her to stay for more?

When he said he was sorry for all the bruises and pain

Did she really believe it would never happen again

Did he say he’d go crazy if she went away

"Temporary insanity" news headlines today

Scroll to Continue

Now she is one more statistic in a police report file

And she'll make news headlines for a little while

But when all is over and people forget she is gone

There will be others who suffer because of this wrong

Not only because "temporary insanity" caused her to die

But because they chose to ignore one more black eye

Accepted last minute cancellations of appointments she made

suspecting it was to hide the punches he had laid

regretting they had not told her what they knew

feeling guilty about something they did not do

They gambled with her life for fear of rejection

Their priority should have been her protection.

For all mothers of daughters in a similar plight

Whatever you do stand up and fight

Or you may hear on the news one day

"Temporary insanity" has taken her away.

- Laura du Toit 2009 -

Denial by the Abused

Many people in an abusive relationship deny that they are being abused. Many of them don't even want to admit it to themselves and commonly use the following excuses:-

  • It's not nearly as bad as what you see on TV or read about - he just hit out at me or shoved me its not as if he hits me all the time - it could be worse. Physical abuse is never better or worse : No matter how minor it may seem abuse is never excusable, acceptable or normal.
  • It only happened once or twice, maybe three times at the most. Studies show that abusers rarely stop abusing someone - in fact invariably the abuse tends to become more frequent and more violent over time.
  • He doesn't assault me if I keep quiet and do what he wants me to. If you give up your right to make decisions, see your friends and family, go where you wish then not only is this person guilty of physical abuse he is now guilty of emotional abuse which could prove to be much more stressful in the long run.
  • He only shouts at me and belittles me - he would never lift his hand to me. Don't be fooled into thinking emotional abuse is any less frightening than physical abuse.

Tactics Used By the Abuser

  • Humiliation - Abusers humiliate their victims in order to lower their self-esteem and make them feel worthless. They believe if the victim feels worthless they are less likely to leave. They either insult them, call them names or shame them in public (sometimes a combination of all of these) to break down their victim's self respect.
  • Threats - Abusers often use threats in an attempt to keep their victims from leaving them. These typically can include threatening to kill either the victims or themselves or threaten to cause bodily harm to the victim should they try to leave.
  • Isolation - In order to gain complete control over the victim's life an abuser may attempt to isolate them from the outside world. He may try to keep them from visiting their friends and family and will expect to be continuously updated on who they see and who they speak to.
  • Control - Abusers dominate their victims as they are control freaks. They make all the decisions on behalf of their victims who are then expected to honor and obey them without any questions. They tend to treat their victims as if they were a possession or a child.
  • Intimidation- To scare their victims into submission abusers may use a variety of intimidation tactics. These include destroying of property, placing weapons on display, threatening looks or gestures and hitting or kicking things.
  • Blame and denial - A bad childhood, a bad day at the office, or the victim themselves are the most common excuses that abusers give for their inexcusable behavior. They may even deny that it ever took place or minimize the abuse. Their favorite tactic is however to shift the blame on to their victim.


Cycle of Abusive Behavior

The cycle of domestic abuse has a repetitive pattern.

It will start with the abusive partner displaying aggressive, belittling or violent behavior towards the victim. The purpose of this behavior is to demonstrate the dominant role of the abuser in the relationship.

Shortly after the abuse has taken place the abuser will feel guilty , mainly out of fear of having to face consequences for his abusive behavior.

The next step in the cycle is when he attempts to regain control over his victim by either becoming extremely charming or by just pretending the incident never occurred. During this phase many victims fall into the trap of believing the abuser has really changed and that the abuse will stop. Unfortunately this phase tends to last for a shorter period of time in each subsequent cycle and the abuser will eventually start planning his next bout of abuse.

Abusers are known to fantasize about abusing their victims and when the "honeymoon" phase is over they will spend time fabricating reasons for the next attack. They then set their victims up to carry out their premeditated plans by creating a situation in which he can justify abusing their victim.

And so the cycle has gone full circle and starts all over again.

In between episodes the abuser tries to make it as difficult as possible for his victim to leave. He leads the person to believe that they are the only person who understands and can help him and that he has changed. He also leads his victim to believe that he truly loves them and that he could not live without them.

Beware : the dangers of staying are very real and could result in permanent bodily harm or death.


If You Suspect Someone You Know is Being Abused

If you suspect that anyone you know may be a victim of domestic violence take the matter seriously.

Let the person know of your suspicions. This may just be the opportunity that they have been waiting for.

Most victims need someone to speak to but are afraid of rejection and many believe they are to blame and feel ashamed.

Knowing that somebody cares and believes in them could give them the courage to walk away before it is too late.

Statistics - Domestic Violence

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Books to Help Victims of Domestic Violence


Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on October 24, 2010:

Not worth leeping him as a boyfriend Rammy. Take your money and run before he becomes your husband!

tammy baker on October 24, 2010:

my boy friend just fought me for a ciggarette

SpaceAge on October 14, 2010:

I'm very familiar w/ everything. My parents were so abusive that my sister died, I barely survived. I'm her only voice, & what was kept secret must now b told.

SpaceAge on October 14, 2010:

I'm very familiar w/ each thing this writer wrote about b/c I suffered 13 long agonizing yrs @ my abusive drunken parents' hands. They even abused my sister til she died. I'm her only voice, & what was keptnsecret must now b told. They tried 2 keep me silent but I'm telling the world. What I want us all 2 know is that it IS possible 2 overcome abuse. We

CAN live normal lives.

Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on October 28, 2009:

Thank you Green Lotus

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on October 28, 2009:

Powerful hub and poignant poetry.

Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on October 27, 2009:

Thanks Lady_E

I agree it is sad - what is sadder is the statistics - one out of every 4 woman experience some form of abuse during their lifetime. That's shocking!

Elena from London, UK on October 27, 2009:

Nicely presented Laura. Its sad but its an issue that needs to be addressed. I hope this Hub helps a lot of people who are going through this Horrible experience.

Touching Poem.

Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on October 24, 2009:

Thanks for the title manlypoetryman and thanks for reading my poem and hub. I've been hoping you would come by to read the poem. Glad you enjoyed it.

ManlyPoetryMan from (Texas) Boldly Writing Poems Where No Man Has Gone Before... on October 24, 2009:

Stop the Abuse....Stop the Insanity! Well done...on a difficult topic. I only hope that some idiot abuser could hear the wisdom of the above poem and hub. How terrible that as you mentioned...the abuser is not in Rage...but carefully picks where to hit the victim and can stop very easily with the simplest of interuptoins...I did not know that...But, always knew that Abusers where all means.

Thank You for a well written poem and information behind it.

Laura du Toit (author) from South Africa on October 24, 2009:

Thanks Paradise

Its been a long time since I wrote a poem - glad you came to read it.

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on October 24, 2009:

Oh, Laura. I'm speechless. You did a great job with this hub. I hope this message is heard.

You lost some of your pictures. This happens sometimes on hubpages, I don't know why.

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