What Is Abuse?
The Office on Violence Against Women defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
- Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol/drugs on her.
- Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Includes marital rape, forcing sex, and treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
- Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. May include constant criticism, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with her children.
- Economic Abuse: Making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.
- Psychological Abuse: Includes causing fear by intimidation, threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or family, friends or co-workers; destruction of pets and property; isolation; threats of physical harm.
Domestic violence does not discriminate. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused – especially verbally and emotionally, athough sometimes physically as well. In 2010 in South Carolina, 34 women and 10 men lost their lives as a result of domestic violence. The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, woman, a teenager, or an older adult. Everyone deserves to feel valued, respected, and safe.
Please remember that abuse is NOT caused by mental illness or alcohol and drugs, stress, or anything that you have or haven’t done. It is NOT an anger management issue. Abusers can control their behavior when in public and when it benefits them; he makes a conscious decision each time he assaults or abuses you.
If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the descriptions of domestic violence and abuse, or have noticed any of the warning signs in your relationship, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help.
MARYS House provides emergency, temporary shelter and services for women and their children that are in imminent danger at the hands of an intimate partner. MARYS House also offers services to women in our community through our administrative offices. If you or someone you know is involved in a violent relationship and would like more information on domestic violence or would like to talk to someone about a safety plan to keep you safe in your home, please contact us at (864)859-9191 (Shelter) or (864)855-1708 (Office).