"It is the put-downs, name calling, insults, belittling and critical statements that have the most serious and long-lasting effect on self-esteem as these messages keep repeating in the victim's mind, years after the bruises have healed" - Associate Professor Dale Bagshaw, University of South Australia
Content warning: discussion of family violence.
Domestic and family violence can take a number of forms:
- physical - e.g. slapping, hitting, choking, stabbing
- sexual - e.g. rape, harassment, being forced to watch pornography
- emotional or psychological - e.g. isolating the person from friends, family, culture, threats against children, threats to commit suicide or self-harm
- economic - e.g. withholding money, controlling family finances, taking out loans in a partner’s name without consent
- stalking - e.g. repeated following, watching or harassing
- verbal - e.g. name calling, being hyper-critical, threats to physically harm
- cyber/technological - e.g. surveillance, tracking, intimidation, rape threats on social media, revenge porn
- cultural/religious - e.g. using culture or religion as an excuse for violence, preventing someone or forcing someone to participate in cultural or religious customs.
Domestic and family violence can involve intimate partner violence, sibling abuse, child-to-carer abuse, and elder abuse.
In 1980 the National Family Violence Survey (US) published a study called ‘Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family’ indicating that the most prevalent form of family violence was that of sibling-to-sibling violence. (See more here.)
PRAY ABOUT IT
"Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me;
all day long foes oppress me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many fight against me.
O Most High, when I am afraid, I put my trust in you...
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record?"
- Psalm 56:1-3, 8 NRSV
Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to hear the many different ways in which domestic and family violence is carried out against all sorts of people, in all sorts of ways, in our communities. Thank you that you see and you hear everything that happens in this world.
Give us understanding and keep us vigilant to recognise those who need assistance, knowing that violence does not always involve physical scarring and bruising. Give counsellors and pastoral care workers understanding and wisdom as they offer support in these painful circumstances. Amen.
- Find key statistics, facts and definitions here
- Listen to one couple talking about emotional abuse here
- For more information on the growing prevalence of elder abuse: here and here.
KidsHelpline: 1800 55 1800.
Elder Abuse Helpline 1300 651 192.