Forms of violence

Emotional Violence

“Whenever I want to go somewhere I have to ask him for permission and to explain why I’m going, whether it’s to the shops, to my parents or to see friends. He makes me feel bad if I don’t spend all my time with him.”

“The verbal aggression occurs every day. I’ve learned to be cautious and to control my behaviour and the children’s behaviour so that his threats will not come true. I’m afraid of receiving visitors, having get-togethers or going to any event outside our home, because I can never be sure how the situation will go.”

“I stopped attending social occasions, I became a quiet, stay-at home person and I was ashamed of myself and my husband. I didn’t dare to express my feelings and gradually quit showing any positive emotions.

Psychological violence undermines a victim’s self-confidence. All forms of violence include some kind of psychological violence, for example, fear often comes before physical violence.

Emotional violence is difficult to identify. Disagreements are an ordinary part of life, but arguments and violence are two different things. In an argument you are free to voice your own opinion. An argument turns into violence when the victim of violence no longer dares to express his or her opinions for fear of the consequences.

Though the attention and devotion received from a partner might feel wonderful at the beginning, as the relationship continues, this attention may change into oppressive jealousy and the devotion may turn into control. Frequent humiliation or being demeaned by an employer, teacher or relative is just as destructive and is also psychological violence. Psychological violence is also a crime.

Emotional violence can include:
– downplaying, demeaning or disregarding
– false accusations
– constant criticism
– controlling someone’s actions or behaviour
– obsessive jealousy
– blackmailing, extortion
– name-calling
– lying
– being pressurised into doing things
– destroying property
– threats of violence
– not allowing someone to have contact with friends and family
– threatening to commit suicide

The consequences of emotional violence include:

– You constantly feel as if you must be sorry about something. You believe that you cannot do anything right.
– You’re lonely. Your partner’s jealousy has created a situation where you do not keep in touch with friends and family in the same way as before.
– You feel that you are not allowed to take decisions about your own life.
– You’re afraid to give your opinions when in company.
– Your passion for life has faded.

Physical Violence

“Last night my husband dragged me by hair from the apartment out to the staircase while twisting my arm. When I tried to come back in, he pushed me and threw me repeatedly me against wall. ”

“He’s always careful that there is no visible bruising. The way he does it is by pulling my hair, beating me with a pillow, throwing me against the wall, banging my head etc. In his own words, he has no reason to feel guilty or to feel sorry for what he does because I always give him a reason for it.”

Physical or bodily violence includes all physical acts of violence.

Physical violence is, for example:
– spitting
– scratching
– biting
– grabbing
– shaking
– jostling
– pushing
– holding a partner down
– preventing a partner from leaving, locking in
– trapping or imprisoning
– throwing
– arm twisting
– slapping
– punching
– strangling
– burning, for example, using a cigarette or boiling water
– depriving of sleep
– drugging
– preventing access to medical treatment
– depriving of assistive devices or medication
– threatening by throwing or hitting other objects
– stabbing
– shooting

Being unconcerned about your health, your needs or your safety is also violence.

In intimate relationships, physical violence is rarely the first form of violence. In most cases, there’s a history of psychological violence. Physical violence often begins with one small noticeable act, such as gripping someone very tightly or pushing. Although this grip or push might not hurt, it is still violence when it happens against your will. Furthermore, assault is still violence even if it doesn’t leave any visible traces. Acts of violence weaken your sense of security, weather the person who did it is someone familiar or someone unknown.

In Finland all types of physical violence are condemned and are a criminal offence. The criminal charge depends on the nature of the physical violence, and the charge may change during the criminal investigation process. The police are required to investigate all assaults that occur in close or intimate relationships.

 Sexual Violence

“After an argument he always wants to have reconciliation sex. I agree, because I don’t want to even guess the consequences of refusing. I feel as if I am nothing. “

“I wondered, do I have to agree…? What right does he have to fondle me when we meet? Being squeezed and to have listen to sexual innuendo in public places is embarrassing. I’ve never actually had time to express my own desires, because a man wants me all the time. “

Everyone has the right to make decisions about his or her own body, about who is allowed to touch it and how. A perpetrator or perpetrators of sexual violence do not respect a victim’s right to decide about his or her own sexuality.

You can identify the threshold at which you were no longer able to decide for yourself  – and where you could no longer be responsible for what happened. The fact that you had sex with the perpetrator before does not grant that person permission to pressurise or use violence.

The right to sexual self-determination is not lost when drunk, nor do the clothes someone wears affect this right. People with or without disabilities have the same right to decide what kind of sex they want or do not want. You have the right to express your gender and sexual identity without fear of harassment or violence. Only the perpetrator is responsible for violence.

Sexual violence is, for example:
– Sex as a result of intimidation, manipulation, or extortion
– Being coerced into having a type of sex, or sex act that isn’t wanted
– Unwanted touching or sexual attention
– Being filmed or photographed having sex, or such pictures being published without permission
– Forcing sex on someone who has passed out or is sleeping
– Sexual violence by taking advantage of the other person’s state of fear
– Rape

If someone does not agree to sexual intercourse, then sex is an act of violence. Likewise, if consent has been obtained by threats or coercion – it is still violence. Even acts that do not leave physical injuries can leave emotional (psychological) wounds.

Sexual violence is not always easy to identify. Think about what might happen if you refuse? Did you have the opportunity to refuse? Did you feel that the situation was out of your control? Were you scared?

After experiencing sexual violence it can be difficult to trust people. Do not let the experience overwhelm you. It is possible to recover. Find someone to talk to about your concerns, write about them and try not to isolate yourself.

Economic Violence

“We have a joint account, but my husband controls how we use it. I have to ask him for money and explain to him what I am going to use it for. It’s humiliating.”

“I’m not even allowed to go to work. He’ll either physically stop me from going, or he might batter me so badly that I cannot go to my work which is in customer services.
I often have to lie that I am sick.”

“It’s almost unnoticeable how he lives off my money. I pay for all the essential items and the children’s expenses, so he can then use his own money how he wants.”

You have the right to decide how to use your money and property. The decisions that you take with your spouse or with your family should be voluntary. You have equal rights to make financial decisions and to receive feedback about the results of these decisions.

Economic violence is linked with psychological violence. Continuous control and exploitation erodes self-esteem and a person begins to lose faith in his or her own ability to make financial decisions.

In an equal relationship decisions are made together. A partner’s right to manage his or her own finances is agreed and accepted. Both have a genuine chance to participate in decision-making and information about money is not hidden or distorted. In a respectful environment, no one should constantly have to justify his or her spending habits, for example, phone usage.

Economic violence involves a wide range of controlling behaviour, for example:

– using money or property without permission
– taking financial decisions alone
– being forced into taking debt or credit
– restricting the use of a bank account or bank card
– making it difficult to get or keep work
– having unfair financial “agreements”, which you have been forced into making (for example, you pay the full rent for the family residence)
– destroying property
– limiting you to an allowance

Economic violence is used in all kinds of families and relationships, both rich and poor.

If you suspect that you might be the victim of economic violence, ask yourself:
– Do you get to decide for yourself what to do with your money?
– How do you decide on money matters with your partner, or with the other person?
– How do these decisions affect you? How fair to you are these joint decisions about money?
– Do you feel that your partner monitors everything you do?