Arguments in a marriage or any committed relationship do happen but abuse, although it does, certainly should not. It is fairly easy to tell the difference between the two if you know the signs. Consulting a counselor or even a family attorney is vital if you need guidance and certainly this information is no substitute for individual counseling or help. Furthermore, should you be the victim of physical violence, please seek more comprehensive help immediately.

It is important to note, in most years, approximately 65,000 calls are made to Domestic Violence Hotlines in Indiana. The majority of the calls are from women and children, but interestingly the number of calls from men has risen steadily.

Harmony in a marriage (or any committed relationship) should always be the goal, but arguments are going to happen. When an argument escalates to verbal, emotional, or physical abuse (the most common to recognize of course), this is NOT normal and is a very serious matter both emotionally and legally. Physical abuse is easy to recognize, but emotional or verbal abuse is not always as clear. Emotional abuse is very serious though, and what cancer is to the body, emotional or verbal abuse can be to the mind of the abused.

There are always outliers to every situation and some calls or accusations of abuse are just untrue, exaggerations, or used as retribution by one of the spouses. Even if the allegations are true, they can be called into question by the court or the accused. This is why a victim of abuse needs to document their reasons for the claim or call and most likely retain the services of a local family law attorney. A family law attorney familiar with abuse (physical or emotional) will know how to provide a unique approach to individual needs.

Physical abuse is easily recognizable and dangerous to the victim and can result in dire physical injury or even death. Verbal or emotional abuse is harder to prove but is becoming more recognizable by the courts and can be just as serious.

When someone is a victim of verbal abuse or bullying, the abuser may use tactics like name calling and making threats against the victim or the victim’s family. They may also resort to methods like gaslighting (convincing someone they have a skewed view of reality), constant correcting, interrupting, putting down, and demeaning the victim or the victim’s loved ones. It is also true, although not commonly known, that the “silent treatment” is actually a form of emotional abuse, as the abuser is attempting to control the victim by refusing to talk to them.

Emotional or verbal abusers seek to control every aspect of their partners lives. The abusers exhibit a total disregard for the partners well-being and often their aim is to diminish the other person’s self worth in order to obtain complete dominance. This can be so serious over time, that modern psychology likens emotional or verbal abuse to being a POW (Prisoner of War). This may sound extreme, but the same mental treatment is utilized in both instances. Serious cases involving emotional abuse require a family law attorney that can provide an approach to your unique needs in an effort to competently protect you and possibly your children.

Definitions & Charges in Domestic Abuse Case

Domestic violence, either physical or emotional or both, is a special category of violence between two individuals that have a special relationship to each other.

It can be perpetrated by:

  • Former Spouses
  • Spouses
  • Family Members
  • Housemates
  • Any Intimate Partners

Some of the offenses included are:

  • Stalking
  • Battery Charges-Physical Harm
  • Domestic Battery
  • Some Homicides
  • Invasion of Property
  • Some Criminal Confinement Issues and Kidnapping
  • Some Strangulation Charges
  • Neglect and Abuse

All, or some of these offenses, can be brought and charged in a domestic abuse case whether it involves violence or not (as in emotional or verbal abuse). Only a family law attorney (and initially, the victim) can properly evaluate the case and prove it successfully in a Court of law. Due to the complexities involved in most domestic abuse cases (especially those involving verbal or emotional abuse), a family law attorney must apply a unique approach to fit the unique needs of the victim. Some family law attorneys even have associated degrees, such as being a Registered Nurse (RN), so they can specifically determine the harm and needs of the victim.

Physical or sexual abuse may be easier to identify, as they often leave physical evidence and reference a specific date or time that the abuse occurred. Emotional or verbal abuse can be much more difficult to prove in that they involve a pattern of consistent behavior towards the victim that occurs over a long period of time. Be assured though, psychological or emotional abuse can cause enormous harm to the victim and is more and more recognized by the Courts. Your family law attorney will be of great value in all these types of domestic abuse cases.

What Can I do if I am the Victim of Abuse?

Domestic violence and abuse of any type can be difficult to discuss. It may go on for years unnoticed or hidden by the victim themselves. Through these times, the victim suffers greatly, but perhaps due to the fear that the physical or emotional abuse will escalate by the aggressor, no action is taken for years. This cycle of abuse may continue indefinitely, or until injuries (physical or mental) become so severe that law enforcement has to be involved. Due to fear or uncertainty, many victims don’t go to hospital emergency rooms, but if they did, the professionals there would probably recognize the signs of abuse and alert the authorities.

Whether you or a family member are the victim of physical, verbal, or emotional abuse, there is help available and a local family law attorney will provide guidance and can be indispensable to proving your case in court.