We have just completed the 16 Days of Activism and violence against women and children has been condemned by most South Africans as cowardly acts perpetrated by evil people.
But we still have a long way to go before all forms of violence stop.
Physical abuse can be proven as the victim may have bruises, scars or other injuries. Doctors are also obliged to complete the J88 form in which the injured areas of the body are recorded and other details documented.
The J88 form can be used in court to prosecute the perpetrator. What about emotional abuse?
Emotional abuse does not leave physical scars and may therefore be difficult to prove. Emotional abuse is just as serious and often the cause of break-up in relationships.
The following are some signs of emotional abuse in a relationship: (Ref. J Cline-Psychcentral 2018)
Withholding affection is a way to punish the partner and to exercise power and control.
Threats may be issued such as revealing something embarrassing, threat to take away money, home or even the children.
Showing lack of respect for your privacy by checking on your social media messages so that they can analyse everything you do and say.
Property damage may be done to scare, punish and to control you.
Alienation is a way of cutting you off from meaningful connections, advisers or support structures. He can refuse use of the car to visit your family or friends. He can create an argument with families and friends so that they keep away from you.
Control of resources is used to dominate. This can be by retaining use of your bank card, your finances, the car, and manipulating the minds of the children. His message is that you cannot survive without him.
Blaming you whenever something goes wrong, the money runs out or the children misbehave. This makes you feel guilty, inadequate and full of low self-esteem.
If you are a victim, report the matter and seek professional help before its too late.
“Domestic violence, rape, abuse of women, remain disgraceful blots on the reputation of a country that is called a miracle nation.” (Mandela).