Emotional abuse is when a person imposes behavior or language that can cause psychological trauma or even physical symptoms for the victim. Examples include making false statements, slander or forcing a person to see disturbing or negative images or behavior.
With simmering anger and hostility, the attacker uses this damaging type of communication as a way to hurt the self-concept of the other person and produce negative emotions. While anyone has the capacity to be verbally abusive at times of extreme stress or pain, for some it is a pattern of behavior used with the intention of controlling or manipulating another person or as a form of revenge.
If you are being verbally or emotionally abused while going through or just after divorce proceedings then a family law attorney may be able to help with a restraining order or other appropriate relief from the court. Emotional abuse examples include screaming, threatening, bullying, humiliating comments, name-calling or making negative comparisons to others.
Neglect includes failing to provide proper food, clothing suitable for the weather, a safe and clean home or medical care, as needed. Children display emotional abuse by showing serious anxiety, depression, withdrawal, self-destructive or aggressive behavior, or delayed development.
Authorities will also step in when there is only a risk of a child suffering emotional harm because of the family situation or other circumstances. Physical violence can involve a threat with a fist or object; being pushed or shoved in a way that could result in injury; being slapped, hit or beaten; being hit or attacked with an object.
Sexual acts within a marriage or intimate partnership must take place with consent. Emotional abuse can include threats and intimidation, demeaning and degrading verbal and body language, control and isolation, subordination and humiliation.
Victims may suffer serious loss of self-esteem and experience feelings of shame, anxiety, hopelessness, depression and terror. An effective legal response to spousal violence requires coordination by all parts of the criminal justice system.
The Criminal Code and the Canada Evidence Act provide protection for victims as well as sanctions for offenders. Prosecution policies and guidelines ensure that charges proceed in court.
However, the police are usually the first step in the legal process and the major point of contact in spousal assault cases. In incidents of partner abuse, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police follows a pro-arrest policy.
The RCMP policy defines spousal assault as a “criminal act of violence or series of acts which causes injury to a spousal or common-law partner.” Even if criminal charges are not laid, individuals can apply for a peace bond or restraining order to prohibit their partners from threatening or harassing them further. An assault is the intentional use of force on another person against his or her will (e.g. touching, slapping, kicking, punching).
This charge may also apply if a person is kissed or touched in a sexual way without his or her consent (no sign of physical injury or abuse need be present). An individual may be charged with aggravated sexual assault if the victim is wounded, crippled, disfigured or brutally beaten and/or his or her life endangered.
The RCMP pro-arrest policy reinforces the laws that make spousal violence a crime, not a private family matter. Laying charges is a crucial step in holding the abuser responsible for his or her actions.
How does society step into these private, personal spaces and help make a difference? Women are at greater risk of severe violence or even of being murdered just after they leave their husbands or partners.
It affects people of all ages, rich and poor, rural and urban, from every cultural and educational background. Research indicates that young couples are at increased risk of spousal violence (Brzezinski, 2004).
According to results from the 1999 and 2004 GAS victimization survey, respondents who had partners in the 15 to 24 year age groups and in the 25 to 34 year age groups reported the highest rates of spousal violence (Family Violence in Canada : A Statistical Profile 2006). The rate is significantly lower than among women and the severity of abuse, especially homicide, often less.
Since these groups may already be stigmatized in society, it can be difficult for either partner to reach out for appropriate help and support. Aboriginal women and men experience higher rates of spousal violence than the general population.
However, there is a growing understanding that simply witnessing spousal or partner violence in their home can affect children the same way as abuse directed at them. Footnote 1 12% of women who have experienced spousal assault have never told anyone about the abuse.
Footnote 1 When spousal or partner abuse is reported to the police, it is assumed that several assaults have already occurred in the relationship. Almost half of women and men report that spousal violence stopped after police intervention.
Overall, the rate of spousal abuse against women in Canada has declined in recent years. The facts show that wife assault has declined in recent years.
Changing attitudes, services for victims, treatment programs for violent men, stronger laws and pro-arrest policies are all making a difference. The best way to start is through a family doctor or social service agency.
Spousal violence is a serious criminal matter with a huge impact on society. As the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence states: “Health costs for injuries and chronic health problems caused by abuse amount to about a billion dollars every year.
We hear the term emotional abuse tossed about quite a bit these days. Lest we make it a dumping ground for every negative emotional encounter, let's be clear on what is and is not emotional abuse.
Frankly, I would be more concerned about someone who could ever let himself yell than I am about someone who sometimes raises his voice to higher and louder octaves in order to express his emotions. But screaming at someone hysterically in an emotional verbal assault is considered to be emotional abuse.
But when a husband and wife, or parent and child, occasionally yell at each other, this is a normal expression of emotion. Once the emotion has been expressed, it probably would be a good idea to sit down and talk it out to find a solution to the problem.
Rather, she may be aware that she feels insecure about whether her partner loves her, so she feels compelled to accuse him of cheating, blame him for her unhappiness, or constantly check his voice and text messages, etc. He may think that he knows what’s best for his partner or what looks correct to the outside world, so he constantly tries to control her every move, criticizing her harshly when she doesn’t do something his way or threatening her when she seems to go outside the lines.
He may criticize her talking, her walking, her dressing, her interactions with others, and her style of living and coping with his attempt to gain and keep control over her. Here's an example: Mary constantly criticizes Tim in hopes that by putting him down, she will be able to control his behavior.
She blames him for her unhappiness frequently, holding him responsible for how she feels. She uses a double-standard when it comes to her own behavior, not holding herself accountable when she does the same exact things for which she criticizes him.
Emotional abuse is a painful and serious pattern of abuse in which the primary effort is to control someone by playing with their emotions.