Domestic Violence – Who is an Abuser / Batterer
Domestic Violence is a violent confrontation between family or household members involving physical harm, sexual assault, or fear of physical harm. Family or household members include spouses / former spouses, those in (or formerly in) a dating relationship, adults related by blood or marriage and those who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship. Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.
In any domestic violence, the abuser is always responsible for the violence and harm they cause and should be held accountable. There is no excuse for domestic violence and the victim is never responsible for the abuser’s behaviour. The physical, sexual, emotional, economical and psychological abuse, sometimes with fatal outcomes that are inflicted on women, is comparable to torture in both its nature and severity. The abuser will perpetrate the abuse intentionally that is committed for the specific purposes of punishment, intimidation, and control of the woman’s identity and behaviour. It takes place in situations where a woman may seem free to leave, but are held as a prisoner by fear of further violence against herself and her children, or by lack of resources, family, legal or community support. The abuser may continue to abuse others even if it destroys their relationships or has other negative effects on their lives such as involvement in the criminal justice system. Some abusers eventually kill their victims and themselves.
Domestic violence can be perpetrated by any family members, extended family member, friends and neighbours. The perpetrators of domestic violence or abuse are usually men and the victims or survivors are usually women and children that they know. Violence in the domestic sphere is usually perpetrated by males who are or who have been in positions of trust and intimacy and power; they can be the husband, boyfriend, father, fathers-in-law, stepfather, brother, uncle, son, or other relatives. Women can also be violent however their actions account for a small percentage of domestic violence. In some cases, older children – teenagers or young adults – are violent or abusive towards their mothers or other family members. An abuser is not always a man, an abuser is not always the product of an abusive childhood, you cannot always spot an abuser “from a mile away”; in fact, many former victims can tell you that they would have never suspected their abuser until it was already too late and an abuser is not restricted to inflicting only physical pain. Most times, the psychological damage far exceeds the physical damage.
Abuser behaviours and characteristics
- Although these traits do not apply to each and every single abuser, they do apply to a majority of them.
- Abusers are extremely possessive and jealous
- Abusers have low self esteem.
- Abusers often have superficial relationships with other people
- For a male, his sense of masculinity is dependent on their partner being totally submissive and dependent on them
- The abuser denies the need for counseling, because there is nothing wrong with him. The abuser will not want her getting counseling or may deny friendships with people who see the abuse.
- The abuser has a great capacity for self deception.
- The abuser was abused as a child or witnessed it in their own family
- The mate is usually a status symbol or there may someone else to be the status symbol
- They can be either charming or exceptionally cruel
- They experience an intense desire to control their mates and others
- They have a great ability to deceive others. In front of everyone else, they are cool, calm, charming and convincing. They will appear to be the most devoted and caring partner anyone could ask for in front of others.
- They have a need to be accepted by the majority
- They may be described as having a dual personality
- They projects blame for the relationship difficulties on the partner.
Alcohol and drug abuse
- Abusers tend to lean towards drugs and/or alcohol as an “escape”. However, the effects of the drugs and alcohol make the attacks much more intense. Many interviewed abusers, accused of murder, use alcohol and drugs as their alibi. “I did not know what I was doing” or “I can’t remember” are very common excuses
- In many cases the abuser will act as if nothing happened in order to excuse their behavior. If they do admit their actions, it is always the fault of the victim. They justify their actions by claiming that they were provoked. Abusive men and women tend to feel inadequate and depressed. Abusive men and women generally come off to the outsider as arrogant and overly self-confident. This is in fact a defense mechanism they use to hide their dislike for themselves
Domination and emotional attachment
- An abuser expects complete attention and support from their mate. Abusers expect and demand complete control and obedience from their victim
- Many abusers have previous instances of abuse in their pasts. Some might have even been arrested or treated for violent tendencies; however often times their current partner is unaware of these situation
Inability to understand or recognize their problem
- The abuser is often times, if at all, the last person to admit that they have a problem. Abusers commonly do not respond well to counseling because they are unable to understand their anger or confusion
Jealousy and possessiveness
- An abuser feels jealous and over-possessive of their victim. They often demand to know their victims whereabouts at all times, get insanely jealous at the slightest hint of someone else getting any of their victims attention and become very hostile at the thought of losing their “property”
- Abusers know how and when to make their partner feel guilty. By causing guilt, the victim is more likely to stay and deal with the abuse, rather than feel “responsible” for any harm their abuser might inflict on themselves. Suicide is frequently used as a method of manipulation. Sometimes an abuser will go as far as to cut or cause other forms of harm to themselves in order to keep their victim from leaving
Obsessed with weapons
- Many abusers are infatuated with weapons and will collect certain weapons, spend countless hours talking about weapons and participate in events which give them the power to use weapons
- As another method of maintaining control stalking invokes fear without the abuser even touching their victim with the abuser stalking or following their partner from a far. Its purpose is to frighten their victim and to prevent them from taking the initiative to leave.