When the Abuse Isn’t Physical
A little while ago, I was on a date with a man who told me about his friend’s advice to “treat women like you’re Christian Grey.”
“That is a terrible idea,” I told him, cringing. He was, of course, referring to the main character from the popular novel/movie Fifty Shades of Grey.
“Really?” he responded, noticeably surprised. “I thought that was what every woman wanted! What’s so bad about Christian Grey?”
Oh, reader, this is why I have a problem with romanticized abuse. We are shown harmful and dangerous actions as something that is not only tolerated but embraced. This leaves a false image of what courting should be.
Let me clarify that this is not an issue with the BDSM community. Whatever consensual activities you do in your bedroom is fine with me. No, the problem is the legitimate forms of abuse that many of us turn a blind eye to.
So, let’s clear this up. Below, a number of different forms of abuse are briefly described. Domestic abuse can include any of the following; it is not necessarily limited to just these.
- Verbal or nonverbal acts that may diminish a person’s sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.
- Examples of this include confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, and infantilization.
- Using one’s religion for the purpose of manipulation.
- Preventing one from practicing religious or spiritual beliefs.
- Ridiculing or putting down one’s belief and culture.
- Controlling all financial decisions, forcing victims to be financially dependent on their partner.
- May also include withholding physical resources such as food, clothes, medications, or even shelter.
- May include preventing the victim from working.
- This is a common tactic, making victims feel trapped in violent relationships.
- Perpetrators may follow the victim, go to places that they frequently go to, text or call persistently, send unwanted mail, and so on.
- Using technology to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner.
- This may include excessive calling and texting as a means to have control.
- May include controlling passwords and social media accounts.
- May involve GPS-tracking the victim.
- May involve sharing photos/videos without consent.
- This is the intentional use of physical force that may injure or harm the victim.
- Forcing someone to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity.
- Ridiculing another person to try to limit their sexuality or reproductive choices.
- Forcing someone to take part in pornographic film-making.
Forms of domestic abuse range from verbal to physical, online to offline, and so on. It is important to know that these behaviors are not acceptable in any circumstance.
We need to take off parading masks of acceptability here. Only then can we see the decline of perpetrators and provide a light to the victims.
For those who are experiencing any of the above, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.
Going back to Fifty Shades of Grey, how many forms of abuse can you count in the storyline? Comment your thoughts below.
Also published on Medium.