Recognize The Signs Of Domestic Abuse

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by Charlene Hunt

roundup staff reporter

Gloria Martinez of Phoenix was killed 12 years ago, her remains were hidden by her husband. They were discovered in Dec. 1998 and he was arrested for her death in March 1999. She was shot to death.

Lana Marie Ito, 23, of Tucson, was pregnant when she was shot and killed along with her three-year-old son, by her boyfriend in 1998.

Angela Casias, 27, of Guadalupe, was shot and killed in the front yard of her estranged husband's home, in front of her six children while picking them up from visitation with their father.

Noreen Overton, 33, of Kingman was beaten to death by her boyfriend on June 13, 1999.

These are examples of women and children who lost their lives in domestic violence homicides in Arizona. The statistics for the year 2000 are not yet compiled. However, the 73 men, women and children who died in 1998 and 1999 tell a chilling story.

Arizona statute defines domestic violence by the relationship between the victim and abuser and the type of crime(s) committed. Qualifying relationships are:

Spouse or former spouse of the defendant

Parent of a child of the defendant

One who is pregnant by the defendant

Resides or resided in the same household and is the opposite sex of the defendant

The victim is related to the defendant or the defendants spouse by blood as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother or sister-in-law.

Criminal acts related to domestic violence include criminal damage, disorderly conduct, endangerment, harassment, threatening or intimidating, assault, custodial interference, unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, criminal trespass, child or vulnerable adult abuse, stalking and dangerous crimes against children.

Most people think of domestic violence in terms of physical assault resulting in visible injury to the victim. This is one of the biggest misconceptions regarding domestic violence. It is also one of the reasons many women/men do not realize they are victims and ask for help.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is any physically aggressive behavior, withholding of physical needs, indirect physical harmful behavior or threat of physical abuse.

Emotional abuse

Physical domestic violence most commonly begins with emotional abuse, and without intervention escalates.

Emotional abuse is defined as continuous degradation, intimidation, manipulation, brainwashing or detrimental control.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is using sex to exploit or forcing sex on another person. Having consensual sexual activity in the past does not indicate current consent. Sexual abuse may involve both verbal and physical behavior.

Verbal abuse

This is defined as any abusive language used to denigrate, embarrass or threaten the victim. This includes threatening to hurt or kill the victim or children, family, pets, property or reputation. Yelling, screaming, terrorizing or even refusing to talk falls under the guidelines of domestic violence.

Financial abuse

Controlling the victim through manipulation of economic resources might include total control of the family income and either not allowing the victim access to money or causing the victim to lose her job or preventing her from taking a job. Financial abuse would also include not paying the rent, utilities or buying food opting to spend it on drugs, alcohol or hobbies.

Control

Ultimate control over the victim is a common denominator in domestic violence. The abuser may often feel justified in controlling the victim's every movement. Control might include anything from monitoring phone calls to making the victim believe he or she is not capable of performing simple every day tasks without the batterer's permission or presence.

Isolation

Isolation might include keeping the victims from seeing who they want to see, doing what they want to do, setting and meeting goals, controlling how they think and feel. Isolation is a way for the batterer to prevent the abused from seeking the resources which may help the victim to leave the relationship.

Some victims go into isolation because of the shame they feel if they are bruised or otherwise injured, or because of the abuser's behavior in public or treatment of the victim's family or friends.

The most important lesson to be learned is the fact that domestic violence victims do not invite abuse and are not helpless, weak, incapable or crazy. Violent actions are the responsibility of the batterer who chooses to act violently.

Domestic violence is about power and control.

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