People need to understand what actions constitute domestic abuse. Victims who are abused in any way should seek advice from an experienced family lawyer to understand their rights and to review their options. There are immediate remedies that can require that the abuser stop the contact and remove themselves from the marital home. There are also long-term remedies including a divorce, a demand for division of the property, alimony, child support and child custody.
Domestic abuse includes more than just physical violence. There are many types of emotional abuse too. If you are enduring any of the following types of abuse, seek legal help immediately. The Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence and other state and local organizations can offer help.
Understanding what domestic abuse looks like
According to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, these are some of the major types of abuse. Many actions justify the filing of civil or criminal charges in Tennessee. All actions require that the victim seek help.
- Control of one spouse or one domestic partner over another is often subtle and insidious. Examples include:
- Monitoring phone calls and not allowing the victim to make phone calls or receive phone calls.
- Restricting the clothing and hairstyle choices of the victim.
- Calling home or coming home unexpectedly – to check on the victim – to the point of jealousy.
- Using children to control the spouse or partner – as spies, by threating to harm the child, and threats to call child services if the mother leaves.
- Making the victim feel as though they can’t survive on their own.
- Physical abuse. Physical abuse includes attacks, threats of abuse, withholding physical needs and other acts. Examples include:
- Punching, kicking, slapping, pushing, scratching, stabbing, shooing, burning, and shooting.
- Preventing someone from eating or sleep is a kind of physical abuse. Denying aid if someone is sick or hurt and denying transportation are also types of domestic abuse.
- Threating or injuring others – children, pets, and property.
- Trapping someone in a room.
- Kicking walls or inanimate objects in anger.
- Holding someone hostage.
- Sexual abuse. This misconduct includes forced sex and using sex in an exploitative way. Prior consent does not mean current consent. Examples include:
- Using force, guilt, coercion, or manipulation. Forcing or pressuring the victim to have sex with others or unwanted sexual experiences – including prostitution.
- Exploiting someone who is unable to be informed about sexual decisions because they’re asleep, drunk, drugged, disabled, too young, or too old.
- Ridiculing a spouse’s or partner’s sexuality.
- Any nonconsensual contact including penetration or touching.
- Excessive jealousy and false accusations.
- Having affairs with other people and using that fact to taunt the victim.
- “Withholding sex from the victim as a control mechanism.”
- Emotional Abuse and Intimidation. This is any behavior that takes advantage of a person’s insecurity, or vulnerability. Examples include manipulation, intimidation, and continuous degradation. Other examples include:
- Insults to undermine a person’s self-confidence.
- Public humiliation.
- Threating to cause emotional or physical harm.
- Distorting reality to create confusion and insecurity.
- Continually ignoring someone or neglecting their needs.
- Forcing the victim to consume alcohol or take drugs.
- Not allowing the person to practice their religion.
- Isolation. This include preventing the victim from people they want to see or doing what they want to do. Isolation eventually causes a victim to feel “left totally alone and without the internal and external resources to change their life.”
Another type of domestic abuse is economic abuse which may include limiting the victim’s access to family funds, keeping hidden accounts, or making the victim turn over their paycheck to the abuser.
If you or a child is the victim of any type of domestic abuse, there is help. There are actions you can take to protect yourself and your children. We fight aggressively to stop the abuse, to hold the abusers accountable, and to help guide you towards a more stable life. At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we have been advising spouse since 1991. We have Tennessee locations in Franklin, Columbia, and Brentwood. Please call our office at 615-977-9370 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment.