Types of Abuse

Types of Abuse – Physical, Sexual, Emotional, and Economic Coercion

One of the major conditions for causing trauma in an individual is feeling helpless to protect yourself or escape from a situation that is threatening to you. When someone intends to do you harm, the traumatic effect is greater than events such as accidents or natural disasters. When the abuse comes from within the family, the traumatic effect is most often more painful and damaging than abuse from outside the family. About half of all marriages involve some type of abuse. Quite often, the abusive partner has suffered trauma in the past.

Abuse is behavior that includes violence and intimidation or the threat of violence and intimidation in order to gain power and control over another individual. In order to gain power and control, the abuse is repetitive and gets more severe (and more frequent) over time.

Physical abuse, sexual abuse, economic coercion, and emotional/psychological abuse cause great emotional distress. Here are the definitions of these types of abuse.

  • Physical Abuse—Any act of violence that is designed to control, hurt, harm or physically assault a partner. This includes pushing, punching, kicking, grabbing, pulling hair, choking, slapping, damaging property or valued items, the use of weapons and refusing to help a sick partner.
  • Sexual Abuse—Any action forcing the partner to perform sexual acts against her or his will. This includes pursuing sexual activity with a partner that is not fully conscious, uninvited touching, unwanted sexual intercourse and coercing a partner to have sex without protection against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Economic Coercion—Any action forcing the partner to become dependent on the abuser for money and survival. This includes withholding money, a car or other resources; sabotaging attempts to make money independently; or controlling all family finances.
  • Psychological or Emotional Abuse—Any action intended to degrade, humiliate or demean, both in public or private. This includes verbal threats, yelling, intimidation, harassment, criticism, untrue accusations, withholding information and isolation from family or friends. Psychological abuse may precede or accompany physical violence as a means of control.

Women are the biggest group of victims who suffer abuse. Abuse crosses all ethnic, racial, religious, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic lines in America. Over 3 million women are abused by their husbands or partners each year. In fact, battering is the number one cause of injuries to women – more than rapes, muggings, and car crashes combined.

  • Women are more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped, or killed by their male partner than by any other type of assailant. Women with an excessively jealous or possessive partner are at a greater risk.
  • Male children who witness abuse to their mother are 3 times more likely to abuse their own wives than children of nonviolent parents.
  • About half of male assailants repeat the abuse over three times a year.
  • Over half of female homicides are committed by male partners.
  • 58,000 US military service members died during the Vietnam War. During that same period, 51,000 women were murdered by their partners in the United States.
  • Women between the ages of 19 and 29 report more violence by intimate partners than any other age group.
  • Separated or divorced women are 14 times more likely than married women to report having been abused.
  • Medical sources suggest that about 37% of pregnant women are abused during pregnancy. Women abused before becoming pregnant face the risk of more severe violence.

Those of us at Operation Pegasus help you understand the different ways that traumatic experiences affect you, your family, and others around you. You also learn how to stop the harsh internal sensations such as panic, rage, and guilt that are triggered by certain places, people, situations, and events. Contact us to learn how to get relief and freedom from trauma symptoms and feel like yourself again.

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