Is Verbal Abuse Considered Domestic Violence?

by Staff
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There is a rise of 80 percent when it comes to domestic violence. Many people think domestic violence is only one person physically beating their spouse. The truth is, it comes in different forms, such as child abuse, spousal abuse, and family abuse through other blood-related relatives.

Another form of domestic violence is verbal abuse, which can happen to anyone in the family. Most people do not know there are laws to protect spouses, children, and other family members from verbal abuse. Any form of verbal threats or put-downs falls under verbal abuse, and the person performing these acts of violence is subject to the law because it is considered domestic violence.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is when families (spouses or children) get into fights that disturb the peace of the household and the neighborhood. Any act of violence is labeled as verbal or physical. The only way the law can step in and help the victims is if charges are filed. They are called out to the scene, but so many times, charges are not filed, or they are filed, then dropped, and the abuser is released. When this happens, it usually forms a cycle until the victim is so badly beaten or dead that the law has to step up the amp for prosecution.

What is Verbal Abuse, and How is it Different from the Other Forms of Abuse?

Verbal abuse comes from threats or put-downs from one person to another. It causes more emotional distress than the rest of the other acts of violence because words hurt sometimes.

When threats are made, it throws fear into a person, and when someone is constantly put down, it affects their self-esteem and mental state. The person will begin to believe they are no good the more they hear their loved one repeat the verbal abuse.

Sexual abuse is secretive to most that will never know unless the victim tells the story, so it has the same characteristics and effects as verbal abuse. But it also has the same effects that are visible on the body as physical abuse. The public won’t see it. The impact of verbal abuse is internal, while physical and sexual abuse is visible and noticed through bruises, broken bones, and other markings that show signs of beatings.

Verbal Abuse Is Within the Cycle of Domestic Violence

Verbal abuse may not be harmful enough to consider domestic violence, but it is within the cycle and where domestic violence begins. Every incident begins with minor things that become fully blown out of proportion. The old saying “words hurt” is accurate, and it can do a massive amount of damage mentally to a spouse, child, or any other family member.

Verbal abuse is the first form of control the abuser will use on their victim. It drives fear into the mind and heart of the loved one so that they do what the abuser wants. The problem is that the abuser is never satisfied. This plays on the victim’s mind, making them feel they are not good enough or can never do anything right. When the victim gives into the abuse, the abuser controls them and takes it to the next level, either physical, sexual, or both. It comes in the form of rage or lust.

The cycle of domestic violence can break at any level, but it is best to stop it at the verbal abuse. Once it hits the level of physical, sexual, or both, the cycle is difficult to break and usually, in some cases, is past the point of no return for some victims.

The abuser will play the mind game, claiming it will never happen again and making broken promises. Then the charges are dropped, and the cycle continues until the victim wakes up and puts a stop to it or the victim succumbs to the abuse.

The Effects of Verbal Abuse

No matter the relationship, husband to wife, or parent to child, the mental capacity breakdown is almost unfixable. Harsh and hostile words are ten times harder to get out of your mind than anything positive. Sometimes, the adverse effects can override the positive.

Self-esteem is the first thing to go. When a person hears the same thing repeatedly, it eventually drives them to believe the lie. The trust is broken between the two parties because out of love, is trust. Harsh words break the bond, and it is here that the person can accept or fight back against verbal abuse by getting the law involved.

Depression is another issue faced by many who live with verbal abuse. Some may feel there is no way out. Once a person’s spirit is broken, the thought process is that life is no longer worth living. The worst outcome of this is suicide.

Once the mind is altered to think a certain way, the damage can cause physical sickness, insomnia, nightmares, PTSD, and other mental illnesses. It can take years of counseling to fix the damage. Some heal faster than others, but it leaves them lacking trust in people. They may never trust again.

What To Do When Confronted with Verbal Abuse

Lashing back with words will only make the situation worse. It could lead to volatile arguments, physical or sexual assault, or even murder. The safest thing is to contact the law and have your attorney on speed dial.

Getting help immediately is the best thing to do. Speak with friends or family who can help advise you on the safest way out of the situation. Ensure you have a safe place to go should the confrontation escalate.

Having the professional help of attorneys for domestic violence victims will give you the courage and advice needed to help you escape the harmful environment. The essential thing to remember is that no one deserves to live in an environment where any type of abuse is present. Following the advice of law enforcement and the attorney can save your life.

About the Author/s

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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