Not only are women between the ages of 19 and 28 abused, so too are many other persons who become the "hidden" victims in our communities. After reading the below information, we invite you to reach out for the help that you need and deserve.
Abuse of elderly men and women is increasing. Approximately 1 in 25 seniors are battered. Financial abuse of seniors is one of the fastest growing crimes of our time. Domestic Violence, in the case of this population, includes not only physical abuse, but neglect as well. Elderly individuals experience a decrease in their physical abilities and their ability to earn income past the fixed rate of a pension or Social Security check. As a result, they are frequently more financially dependent upon family members. Often, they are no longer able to drive and become more isolated from social supports. Lastly, if the elderly person has a diagnosis of dementia, they are less likely to be validated and/or believed when accusations of abuse and mistreatment are made.
People with Physical Challenges
Abuse of the population of persons with physical disabilities can be a serious problem, and while domestic violence does not occur at a higher rate within this community, it does last for longer periods of time. People with a physical disability are generally more vulnerable as they are often less able to defend themselves during an assault. This population tends to be more isolated from their communities at large as many places are not accessible to them, or they are on a fixed income which prevents them from affording transportation costs. Abusive partners of people with disabilities may withhold or throw away medication, cancel doctor's appointments that are difficult to get scheduled, and they may withhold wheel chairs, braces, or prosthetic devices.
Contrary to many myths about domestic violence only occurring against women, we know that women also abuse men, albeit at a statistically lower rate than men against women. Men are much less likely to report abuse or ask for help due to a combination of cultural pressures;
- Biologically they are stronger than women and more able to defend themselves.
- Men are encouraged not to cry or show emotion.
- Men are traditionally viewed as the bread winners, responsible for the care of their family.
- Men should never hit a woman... even if she is hitting you.
People with Mental Challenges
Often people with mental challenges have been raised to believe that you should always listen to authority figures, which could equal parents, friends, teachers, and caregivers. So they may not feel comfortable trying to defend themselves, question the actions or behavior of a family member, or advocate for themselves and reach out for help. The most common type of abuse for survivors in this population is verbal/emotional abuse and neglect. Due to the stigma and lack of basic education in every day society that exists around people with MRDD or Mental Health challenges, this particular population may have burned a lot of bridges in their communities and with their family members, isolating them further from observant eyes that could witness and report abuse/neglect. Survivors with this specific type of challenge often have trouble accessing resources such as:
- Stable housing in safe neighborhoods
- Transportation to counselors, groups, and appointments with case managers
- Maintaining their state or federal disability benefit
- Obtaining medications to assist with mental health symptoms
- Diversity of choices for healthy intimate partners with which to enter into a relationship
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered
Domestic violence in this population occurs at the same rate statistically as in heterosexual relationships. Due to the significant presence of homophobia in our society, a large portion of the GLBT community may choose to stay "in the closet." Therefore facing greater isolation and being less likely to reach out for help from domestic violence service providers, law enforcement officers, the judicial system, the church they attend, or from an unaccepting family. To come out of the closet, and acknowledge that they are in an intimate relationship with a same gendered partner, may create large risk(s) of loss of their job, their rental unit, their family, and the spiritual support of their church. In addition, many states have passed legislation that prevents recognition of any type of GLBT intimate partner relationship which can mean civil protection orders may be denied to the victim and violence would be considered "assault" which is not an enhanceable offense. One partner may not be viewed as a legal parent of children they are raising together–and therefore be charged with kidnapping. A judge may allow homophobia to color their decision and therefore the victim's safety. A law enforcement officer called out to the home may not be educated enough to tell who is the victim and who is the abuser–therefore arresting and charging both parties with domestic violence. Lastly, if a lesbian or bisexual woman with an abusive female partner doesn't "come out" on the hotline, she may be placed in a shelter where her abuser has been placed after pretending to be a victim in need of emergency protective shelter.
The following is a list of types of abuse that could be happening to any of the above groups of people.
- Dragging by the hair
- Choking/ Strangling
- Twisting an arm
- Threatening to harm with a weapon or actually doing so
- Forcing sexual acts (such as oral sex)
- Beating for refusal of sex
- Bringing other sex partners home
- Constant sexual demands
- Withholding sex
- Stopping intercourse just prior to partner’s climax
- Insulting in bed
- Forcing pregnancy
- Uncomfortable touching
- Accusing of having affairs
- Bragging about infidelity or incest
- Taking money
- Placing all the bills in the abuser's name
- Placing all bills in victim's name and refusing to provide money for payment
- Selling or destroying victim's personal possessions
- Considering wants before needs
- Forcing Victim to work, but not working themselves.
- Accounting for every penny spent
- Never giving enough money to pay for food, rent, bills
- Forcing inadequate living conditions, clothes, or food
- Putting down people in general
- Name calling
- Talking down
- Threatening to physically harm
- Threatening to take away children or call Child Protective Services
- Racial Slurs
- Belittling feelings or important achievements
- Embarrassing in front of others
- Living with alcohol or drug abuse
- Constant demands on time or attention
- Forcing agreement with other's opinions
- Restricting/ or cutting off access to family and friends
- Threatening violence towards others that survivor cares about (including pets)
- Threatening/or attempting suicide if victim tries to leave them
- Withholding affection
- Giving the silent treatment