The ongoing violence is damaging to everyone

An abuser believes that they have an inherent right to power. One Light Charity Foundation believes that only when power is used to enhance someone else’s freedom, it is being used well. We pursue a culture in which women’s contributions are of equal value. Everyone should seek a world that actively welcomes the voices of women. The development of women’s talents should be encouraged. We should all pursue a culture in which women’s contributions should be the same as men’s. Marriage or relationships are not meant to induce suffering and enduring persistent abuse, it does not lead to anything good.

The need for power

Abuse and oppression of the vulnerable by the powerful are sadly prevalent in a fallen world. Men’s violence against women is well documented. The underlying driver of violence is the need to find some recognised level of power in how we see ourselves and our place in the world. People in powerful positions are anxious about their control. The acquisition of power is a never-ending process as those who achieve any level of power quickly become accustomed to it. It becomes the status quo. The need for power can be fulfilled only by acquiring more.


An abuser believes that they have an inherent right to power. The threat of the potential loss of their power fuels their violence. The abuser typically views marriage as a pyramid of power. Themselves on top and they are always trying to secure their position. This is why abusers are controlling. Easily angered, and critical. All reasons, why they isolate their spouses from friends and family.

One Light charity infographic of domestic violence statistics

Five types of domestic abuse

Domestic violence is any of the forms of abuse listed below. All examples are unacceptable; some are criminal offences. 

Verbal abuse

Using words as a weapon to cause significant damage. This may include:

  • screaming,
  • shouting,
  • put-downs,
  • name-calling,
  • swearing,
  • using sarcasm
  • ridiculing a person for their religious beliefs or ethnic background.

Verbal abuse may be a precursor to physical violence.

Physical abuse

Behaviour such as:

  • pushing,
  • shoving,
  • hitting,
  • slapping,
  • attempted strangulation,
  • hair-pulling, punching etc.

Weapons may or may not be involved. It could also be threats to destroy or destroying prized possessions. This type of abuse can range from a lack of consideration for a person’s physical comfort to causing permanent injury or even death.

Emotional abuse

Behaviour that deliberately undermines a person’s confidence leading them to believe:

  • they are stupid
  • ‘a bad parent’
  • useless
  •  she is going crazy or insane

This type of abuse humiliates, degrades and demeans the victim. The perpetrator may make threats to harm the victim, their friends or family members. Even to take the children or to commit suicide. The perpetrator may use silence and withdrawal as a means to abuse.

Financial abuse

The perpetrator takes full control of all the finances. Makes all the decisions about spending the money. The victim is left to depend financially on the partner. The victim and the children are forced to live on inadequate resources. The perpetrator demands account for every cent spent. This type of abuse is often a contributing factor for women becoming ‘trapped’ in violent relationships.

Sexual abuse

Any unwanted sexual behaviours are wrong. This may include forced sexual contact or forcing the victim to perform sexual acts that cause pain or humiliation.

Domestic violence myths vs facts:

  • No amount of bad behaviour can induce someone to behave violently. Victims do not cause their abuse, even if they are unfaithful, unreasonable, or unkind.
  • Responding to violence with violence is only acceptable in cases of self-defence, not to punish the perpetrator.
  • No level of violence is normal or acceptable in a relationship. A person who resorts to violence once will likely do so again.
  • Domestic violence harms children even when the children are not physically abused. Many police departments treat domestic violence in the presence of children as a form of child abuse.

10 Signs of domestic violence

It’s impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs of emotional abuse and domestic violence. If you witness these warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously.

  1. Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner.
  2. Check-in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing.
  3. Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness.
  4. Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation.
  5. Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)
  6. Be restricted from seeing family and friends.
  7. Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car.
  8. Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident.
  9. Show significant personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  10. Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal.

Domestic violence facts

Domestic violence outreach campaigns often focus on women. Both men and women can be and are victims of domestic violence. One study found that 40% of domestic violence victims are men. Of course, the picture is a bit more complicated. Some groups have used this figure to argue that women are just as violent as men. In most cases, domestic violence directed at men is in the form of slaps and other low-level violence. Men are significantly more likely to resort to extreme violence, to use weapons, and to kill their partners.

Women remain the primary victims

So while domestic violence against men does happen and is a severe problem. Women remain the primary victims. But for this reason, men who have faced abuse often find themselves stigmatised and ridiculed. If someone you love says they’ve been the victim of domestic violence, you should believe and support them. No gender is safe, and no amount of physical strength or emotional fortitude protects against abuse.

Domestic violence laws

The legislation was passed in Parliament in 2009 to give police and courts higher powers to prevent and address domestic abuse. The Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 protects people from harm. The Act restricts what the perpetrator does as well as requiring the perpetrator to work towards rehabilitationFor more information about Intervention Orders visit the Legal Services Commission of South Australia’s website.

Domestic Violence Hotline

1800RESPECT Funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

Trained counsellor

We know that talking about sexual, domestic and family violence can be difficult. When you contact 1800RESPECT, you will speak with a trained counsellor who will listen and support you in what feels right for you and your situation.

They will work with you to help you identify what you can do and to find the right services or support for you. Everyone’s situation is different, and no one knows your situation better than you.

They can be contacted by phone or online chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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