By Sifu Lawrence Hochobeb DOMESTIC violence may consist of threats, punches or sexual force. The abuse can range from verbal harassment to stabbing and shooting. Domestic violence is a serious matter. It often ends in death or permanent physical injury. Each year many women suffer serious physical assault by an intimate partner in our country. Most of the victims of domestic violence do not open up and talk about the problems they have in their homes, or try to find solutions BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. What is domestic abuse? There are many forms of domestic abuse, ranging from screaming verbal threats to pushing and pulling. Contrary to what many women think, domestic abuse isn't just physical beating. Domestic abuse may include emotional abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using children, threats, using male privilege, intimidation, isolation and a variety of other behaviours used to maintain fear, intimidation and power. Domestic abuse does not discriminate against race, age and socio-economic background. No specific type of woman is more prone to being beaten-up by her partner, nor is one type of woman completely safe from abuse. Acts of domestic violence generally fall into one or more of these categories: Physical beating - The abuser's physical attacks or aggressive behaviour can range from bruising to murder. Sexual abuse - Physical attack by the abuser is often accompanied by or ends in sexual violence. Psychological treatment - The abuser's psychological violence can include constant verbal abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, isola-ting the woman from friends and family, and depriving her of food, money, clothes and destroying her personal property. An assault is a criminal offence. I have identified three types of assault: Simple assault is the most common assault that includes slapping, pushing or pulling, punching/kicking or threatening that he or she will harm you or your children. Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm. Examples include an assault where you are beaten with a stick or you get a black eye or broken bones. Aggravated assault is an assault where your life is endangered; you are wounded, maimed or disfigured. Examples are where the offender threatens to kill you or where your injuries from the assault leave you with a limp or permanent scar. Warning signs of an abusive relationship: Are you scared of your partner's temper? Are you not complaining because you are afraid to hurt your partner's feelings or are afraid of your partner's anger? Do you have the urge to "rescue" your partner when he/she is in trouble? Do you find yourself apologising to others for your partner's behaviour when you are treated badly? Have you been hit, kicked, pushed, or had things thrown at you by your partner in a rage of jealous or anger? Do you make decisions about activities and friends according to what your partner wants or how your partner will react? Do you drink or use drugs to ease the pain or join your partner in doing that so he won't get mad? Do you consent easily to your partner to avoid angering him? What are some of the warning signs? He/she is extremely jealous. Wants to know where you are at all times. Gets upset if you spend time with friends or family. He/she expects you to meet his/her emotional needs. Blames others and you for his/her problems. He/she threatens you with violence. There may be many other warning signs; you can phone the nearest Woman and Child Abuse Centre for further information. What victims of domestic violence need to know: The abuse is not your fault You don't deserve to be abused You can't change someone who is abusive Staying in the relationship won't stop the abuse With time the abuse always gets worse If you stay, make a plan to keep yourself safe when the abuse happens again You CAN fight back! "Together we can stop the cycle of domestic violence." Report all cases of domestic violence to the police. Sifu Lawrence Hochobeb is the Founder and Chief Instructor of Namibia Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy.
2008-05-14 00:00:00 10 years ago