Domestic violence is not limited to marriage, and the protections of the law are available to men as well as women, and to partners in a same – sex relationship. It can take a wide range of forms, from physical violence to emotional or even economic abuse. Unfortunately, most domestic violence victims feel helpless, fearing that the law won’t protect them, that they somehow deserve the abuse, or that they would rather accept the abuse than be alone. There are ways to protect yourself—help is available.
The Nature of Domestic Abuse
Though domestic abuse is often referred to as spousal abuse, it actually applies to all situations where two people are cohabitating, whether you are in a domestic partnership or a same – sex relationship. Domestic violence generally serves one purpose—it allows the abuser to exert control over the victim. Because the ultimate goal is control, the abuser may use a variety of methods to obtain power of a victim, including beatings, threats of violence, guilt, shame and intimidation.
In every relationship, there are disagreements, right? In fact, if there are no disagreements, it may be one of the indicators that there is unhealthy control being exerted by one of the parties. But when does disagreement rise to the level of domestic abuse? Clearly, when verbal abuse escalates to physical violence, it has crossed the line. With the possible exception of self – defense, there is never a situation where physical violence between spouses or domestic partners is acceptable. Sexual abuse between partners or spouses can also be difficult to determine. However, whenever your partner forces you to engage in a sexual act against your will, or uses other threats or intimidation to coerce you into performing a sexual act, it is likely that you have been the victim of domestic abuse.
With respect to emotional or economic abuse, the signs can be even more subtle. Do you find that your spouse or partner repeatedly uses guilt, shame or humiliation to diminish your self-esteem, so that you comply with their wishes? Does your partner call you whenever you go out alone, even to the grocery store, to check where you are and when you will be home? Does your spouse take your paycheck and give you nothing or little in return, or refuse to provide you with money to meet your most basic needs? Will they only allow you to go out in public if they come along?
Noticing the early signs of domestic abuse and taking steps to stop them can often prevent the escalation that results in physical injury.
Contact Our Office
At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To arrange a private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania domestic violence attorney, contact us online or call our office at 717-773-4822 (toll free at 1-866-619-3079). Se habla Espãnol.