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IL family lawyerUnhealthy and abusive relationships can be easy to spot from the outside but can become difficult to recognize when you find yourself in that situation. They say that love is blinding and this is often the case in relationships like these. A man or woman in a relationship gets used to their partner’s behavior and often gives them excuses in regards to their abusive tendencies. Statistically speaking, one in four women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Physical abuse is not the only form of abuse that takes place in relationships. Emotional and sexual abuse are often more common. Continue reading to learn about what is considered abuse and why victims of abuse stay in unhealthy relationships.

What Is Abuse?

Abuse can come in many forms and does not always have to be an act of violence. Consistently putting down your partner or making them feel less about themselves is a common form of emotional abuse that often gets brushed off. Many incorrectly believe that violence or assault is the only true form of abuse because there is physical evidence to look at. Manipulation is another common abuse tactic. This can be explained as your partner wanting to spend time with you; however, an unhealthy amount of time spent with your significant other is never a good idea for either person. This manipulation can be as simple as dictating who their partner’s friends can be or as complicated as threating suicide if their partner leaves them. Financial control is also an example. This is more common in marriages since your bank accounts are typically merged; however, it is not impossible in a dating relationship as well. A partner who makes all financial decisions without consulting their spouse can use this to their advantage. Having financial gain over another is an easy control tactic that can be used without the partner even recognizing it.

Common Reasons People Stay in Abusive Relationships

It can be difficult to understand why someone would stay in an abusive relationship when they have never been in one themselves. There are a variety of different reasons why partners stay.

  • Love: This is one of the most simple and common reasons why abusive relationships continue - love. It can be difficult to leave someone you love no matter how much they hurt you. Remembering the “good times” from the past can be strong enough to motivate individuals to keep trying to get them back.
  • Lack of Finances: Financial abuse is so successful because not having the money to be independent can force people to remain in their current situation. Many people do not see another option since they do not have the means to do so.
  • Normalizing Abuse: This is similar to the lack of recognition of abuse. Many partners do not realize how serious the abuse has become. They think abuse simply comes with all relationships.
  • Low Self-Esteem: The way a person sees themselves determines many of the decisions they make in life. Emotional abuse typically deteriorates an individual’s self-esteem over time. Their partner will plant the idea that they will never find anyone else causing them to stay out of fear of loneliness and low self-esteem.

Contact a Kane County Domestic Violence Attorney for Help

Finally leaving an abusive relationship often requires more steps than telling your partner “it’s over.” For those who are married, divorce is one of the best ways to ensure that you cut all ties with your former spouse. Orders of protection may also be necessary depending on the dangers of the situation. If you are considering divorce or need help filing for an order of protection, contact our St. Charles, IL domestic violence lawyers for a free consultation at 630-584-5550.

 

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Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_domestic-violence_20180918-213803_1.jpgBattered wife syndrome, also known as battered woman syndrome, does not only affect women. It can affect any domestic violence victim, male or female, who lives with an abusive partner. Domestic violence knows no gender.

Despite the law and the medical community recognizing that a person of any gender can perpetuate and suffer domestic violence, the term “battered woman syndrome” is still frequently used to describe the psychological effects domestic violence can have on a victim.

The Stages of Battered Wife Syndrome

When an individual faces domestic violence, he or she can internalize it and feel like he or she caused it to happen. This internalization and sense of responsibility for the violence is battered wife syndrome. Generally, it follows this pattern:

  • Denial. The victim refuses to accept that he or she is being abused;
  • Guilt. The victim recognizes the abuse and feels he or she caused it;
  • Enlightenment. When the victim realizes he or she did not cause the violence to happen, he or she is in the enlightenment stage; and
  • Responsibility. In this stage, the victim recognizes that only his or her abuser is responsible for the violence. This is where the victim leaves the relationship.

Not all victims make it to the enlightenment stage. Many stay in the guilt stage, feeling like they caused their abuse to happen and trying to be better partners to make the violence stop.

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Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_rape.jpgMany people are familiar with the various types of domestic violence, such as physical abuse, psychological abuse, and financial abuse. Not quite as many are familiar with the term “spiritual abuse,” which refers to the use of religion as a way to control another individual’s actions and diminish his or her agency. Spiritual abuse can be perpetuated by a church leader against a congregation member, a parent against a child, or a spouse against a partner.

Signs of Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse can be difficult to recognize because it often invokes religious principles as justifications for violence and control. Individuals who practice any religion can face spiritual abuse. In a marriage, spiritual abuse can arise out of the gendered power imbalance many religions perpetuate.

A few examples of spiritual abuse include:

  • Prohibiting a spouse from working, opening a credit card, or accessing funds with religious justification;
  • Using one’s role as the home’s “spiritual leader” to exert authority over how a spouse speaks, dresses, interacts with others, and practices religion;
  • Using religion to isolate a spouse from his or her friends and family;
  • Exerting sexual control over a spouse, citing religious justification for doing so; and
  • Using guilt and shame to coerce a spouse into behaving in a specific way, claiming that he or she is not living according to their religion if he or she does not obey.

Read these statements again but this time, remove any reference to religious justification. If something is abusive when it happens without religious justification, it is just as abusive when it is done in the name of religion.

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