Domestic violence cases can’t continue

Published 2:27 pm Thursday, June 14, 2007

What is domestic violence? It has been called by many names; wife beating, battering, family violence, domestic abuse. All refer to abuse by one person of another in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence is not limited to physical battering, but may include other forms of abuse as well.

Abuse can be described as any behavior that is intended to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical assaults. It is the systematic persecution of one partner by another.

An abuser often wears down his partner by unrelenting criticism and fault-finding. This form of psychological abuse is especially cruel because it is often disguised as a way of “teaching the woman how to be a better person.” Many experts believe that emotional abuse may have longer lasting effects than physical abuse.

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When a person hears over and over that she is stupid, worthless, or ugly, she may internalize these things and let them become part of her self-image. When we hear over and over that we are worthless and incompetent, we begin to not only believe it, but to hear it repeating over and over in our minds.

Emotional abuse is often one of the control tactics an abuser employs to break the spirit of the victim and destroy her perception of her own choices until she no longer believes she can change she situation or leave.

Once a woman accepts an attack on she self-worth and permits herself to be demeaned, she has opened the door for future assault.

It is important to stand up to any abusive treatment as soon as it happens. If the abuse is verbal, there must be at least an unequivocal assertion that you will not stand for this type of treatment.

If it turns violent, there should be no second chances until you have removed yourself from the situation and received some assistance.

The relationship may still be salvageable, but only with professional intervention.

At SMMC Alcohol and Drug Office we have solutions for problems with substance abuse and anger. For more information contact: me at 200 S. Wall St., Natchez, MS 39121 or 601-446-6634.

Carolene Britt is the outreach counselor at Southwest Mississippi Mental Health Complex.