Mental Abuse Is Domestic Violence, Too: Key Definitions and Statistics

The statistics are harsh and unblinking. According to Safe Voices, a group dedicated to ending domestic abuse, one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Among other findings:

  • Most mental and physical abuse cases are never reported to the police.
  • Nearly 1/3 of all female homicide victims die at the hand of an intimate partner.
  • In 70-80 percent of intimate partner homicides – regardless of whether the man kills the woman or the woman kills the man – the man physically abused the woman before the murder.
  • More than 1 in 4 teenage girls in a relationship report enduring repeated verbal abuse.
  • Emotional abuse can cause physiological changes, elevating levels of flight-or-fight hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and even changing the structure of neural connections in the brain, especially following prolonged stress or single acute stress events.

Women’s Health.gov reports that attempts to scare, isolate, or control a person in a relationship constitute abuse. These behaviors can affect your physical and emotional wellbeing, and they often signify that physical abuse will follow. If your significant other engages in any of the following acts, depending on the nature of the abuse and the threat level you feel, immediately seek assistance. Call law enforcement and/or a qualified Maryland family law attorney to discuss measures to protect your and your children’s safety, to punish the unwanted behavior and to extinguish it:

  • He or she monitors what you are doing in a very close and unwanted fashion out of jealousy or for other reasons.
  • He or she unfairly accuses you of being unfaithful.
  • He or she prevents or discourages you from visiting with family or friends.
  • He or she tries to keep you from going to work or school.
  • He or she frightens you with bouts of anger, aggression, or unpredictable strong emotions.
  • He or she wants to control how you spend your money.
  • He or she has no trouble humiliating you in front of others.
  • He or she threatens to hurt people you care about.
  • He or she threatens to commit self-harm, implying that your actions or behaviors triggered the situation.
  • He or she says things like, “If I can’t have you, then no one can.”
  • He or she wants to decide things for you, such as what you should wear, where you should go, and what you should eat.

Abuse is abuse, irrespective of whether the scars are emotional or physical. If you need an effective, compassionate strategy to deal with your complex relationship situation, call our experienced Maryland divorce attorneys to schedule a confidential case consultation at 301.970.9286.

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