Knowing the Signs of Spousal Abuse

Knowing the Signs of Spousal Abuse

Domestic abuse is unfortunately common and widely under-reported in the United States. The risk of domestic violence is an insidious threat to millions of families in America, but the warning signs can be difficult to recognize. Because spousal abuse often begins small and gradually intensifies, the behavior becomes so normalized that an individual may not even realize they have become a victim. If your spouse or domestic partner exhibits any of the behavioral warning signs of spousal abuse discussed in this post, it is time to get help immediately.

Physical Abuse

Physical violence is the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about spousal abuse. More than half of all female murder victims in the U.S. are killed by their significant others, around 16,000 women every year. However, a spouse does not need to give you a black eye or broken bones to constitute physical abuse. Any unwanted physical contact and/or the threat of unwanted contact is considered domestic assault. This includes minor attacks, like pinching, spitting, and grabbing. These behaviors can all be considered signs of spousal abuse.

Physical abuse often begins with an isolated incident of pushing, hair pulling, or slapping. Over time, this can escalate into more frequent episodes of beatings and choking, which are more likely to cause serious injury. The abuser might apologize afterward or blame his victim for making him angry.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse often goes hand in hand with physical abuse, but it can also stand on its own. Emotionally abusive behaviors include threats, intimidation, humiliation, and belittling. The emotionally abusive spouse is typically very authoritative and will isolate his victim or monitor her contact with the outside world.

One very effective form of emotional spousal abuse is known as gaslighting. Gaslighting refers to psychological manipulation that causes another person to question their sanity. A victim of emotional abuse may put up with violence and other types of abuse because she has been brainwashed to believe she deserves this treatment or is somehow at fault for her abuser’s actions.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is one of the biggest reasons domestic violence victims don’t “just leave.” It involves forcing the victim into a powerless situation by withholding resources. A financially abusive spouse may prohibit you from working or even attempt to cause repeated pregnancies in order to ensure your financial dependence. Other behaviors include taking control of a victim’s personal income and savings, not allowing her to spend money, and/or refusing to share bank account and other financial information.

Sexual Abuse

Any kind of forced sexual activity is domestic violence, regardless of your marital or relationship status. Marital rape is a crime. Unfortunately, victims of spousal abuse are often taught their bodies are not their own.

Signs of Spousal Abuse? Call a South Carolina Family Law Attorney

There are legal protections available to victims of spousal and domestic abuse. If you need help divorcing an abusive spouse, contact a family law attorney as soon as possible. Klok Law Firm LLC is a full-service family law firm in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Contact us today to get the legal help you need.