Definition of Abuse

Please check the BLOGROLL links on the right for a complete list of Abuse and their definitions.

Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional or verbal; it is intimidation or manipulation of another person or an intrusion into another’s psyche; the purpose is to control another person. It is generally a long-term pattern of behaviour although specific short-term interactions can be labelled abusive.

Recently the following categories have been included in definitions of abusive behaviour: social, economic, intellectual and spiritual. With child abuse neglect is also an important component.

Abuse cuts across all social categories and classes. It occurs in well-educated high income areas and in low-income working class areas; it happens in all races and religions. It can occur in families, extended families, in neighbourhoods, schools, churches, and community groups.

Both men and women can be abusive and be abused and it can occur in virtually all age groups. The old can abuse the young and the young the old.  While standards are different in various cultures, it occurs in virtually all countries as well.

Because it is often learned at an early age, it can be passed from generation to generation like a family disease. This is called the intergenerational cycle of abuse.

Abuse tends to happen to people in a weaker position or to those who are willing to be accommodating. Thus a stronger brother will abuse a weaker brother;  an agreeable and supportive wife may be abused by her uncompromising husband; a teacher may pick on a student who is having learning problems; a spoiled teenage boy may manipulate a parent in an abusive manner.

Definition of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, family violence and intimate partner violence(IPV), can be broadly defined as, a pattern of abusive behaviours by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation.

Domestic violence has many forms including physical aggression (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation.

Alcohol consumption, drug abuse and mental illness can be co-morbid with abuse, and present additional challenges when present alongside patterns of abuse.

Awareness, perception, definition and documentation of domestic violence and abuse differs widely from country to country, and from era to era, as domestic violence and abuse is not preempted to any particular geographical location, generation, social class or standing, gender, religious persuasion, political affiliation, academic standing or ethnic origin.

Here in Trinidad and Tobago and by extension our Caribbean neighbours estimates show that less than a third of cases of domestic violence and abuse are actually reported the evidence is there to show that domestic violence and abuse is rampant in every community and the society women and children do not come forward to make reports because of fear and shame.

Fear of the abuser and shame because of what the general public will think of them, even the said officers to whom they may make the report  and as such do not come forward to report the acts of violence.

The numbers also show that men are also victims of domestic violence and abuse and because of the mental training which male have in the Caribbean and by inclusion in this statement the world over they will not come forward to make a report of abuse once again because of the various stigmas that are attached to domestic violence and abuse.

Let us take a look outside of the Caribbean for just a short while we will see the estimates are that only about a third of cases of domestic violence are actually reported in the United States and the United Kingdom. According to the Centers for Disease Control, domestic violence is a serious, preventable public health problem affecting more than 32 million Americans, or over 10% of the U.S. population.

Most abusers are males but research has shown that women are also abusers the men are beginning to come out and speak against it and also report it.  The National Institute of Justice and the Center for Disease Control estimates that 1.5 million women and 835,000 men are the victims of domestic violence each year

With figures this huge for the United Sates of America and we can not speak for the hundred of thousands of cases which have not been reported can we as a country stick our heads in the sand like the Ostrich or play with our thumbs as did Nero and honestly with a pure conscience say that domestic Violence and abuse is not a major issues here in Trinidad and Tobago and around the world.

For too long the only time one will hear about domestic violence is when some tragedy occur in the society and there is the media hype and the government frenzy and groups and the citizenry will speak out and up however after a few days all the hype is laid to rest and the victims and perpetrators are forgotten and so the voiceless in our society continues to be silenced by our inactivity and the Gag order from society itself.

Abuse was mainly set to being a “Women’s Issue”, the problem was swept under the carpet for generations and only recently has it come to public awareness yet with the fact that men are also abused this issues is classified in the minds of many as a “Women’s only Issue”, even today, many in society has turned up their nose against the abused and the protective services, health services, the court and the mental health systems largely ignores domestic violence and abuse in the family.  This induces feelings of shame and guilt in the victims and “legitimizes” the role of the abuser whether male or female.


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