The many forms of domestic violence

by Sheila Veersammy
Guyana Chronicle
December 12, 2000

DOMESTIC violence is a criminal act. When we speak about domestic violence what do we mean: We mean that a man is hurting, threatening or is abusing a woman with whom he has a relationship or vice versa.

Domestic violence can take these forms: physical, sexual or verbal.

1. Physical violence Physical violence leaves marks for all to see and sometimes end with hospitalisation or death.

The abuser attacks his victims in these forms:

- Shoving or manhandling their spouses.

- Pinching or sticking the victims with a finger.

- It is hitting with a hand or striking with an object.

2. Sexual Violence

- This is when a woman is forced to have sex against her wishes.

- It is when the abuser demands sexual acts that the victims does not like.

- Sex without consent is called rape.

- Rape or marital rape is a crime that must be brought before the court and the perpetrator must be punished.

3. Emotional/Verbal Abuse

This type of violence does not leave marks but it is worse.

The abuser premeditates and robs you of your dignity and self-respect.

This type of violence takes these forms:

1. Insulting you.

2. Threatening to hurt you.

3. Threatening you badly in front of others.

4. Blaming you for things you are not responsible for.

5. Controlling your movements.

6. Controlling what you do.

7. Blackmail.

8. And most of all never gives you enough money to spend.

The abuse never seems to end. The abuser sometimes tells his victims what to wear or who your friends should be. He makes you feel as if you are not fit to be in the company of others, because you are stupid and lack understanding.

This is about control and power.

Women, don't let anyone tell you that you are stupid or ignorant. You must never disbelieve your capacity to function properly in society. If you keep away you will serve the purpose of the abuser because he would be free to do anything and get away with it.

Victims of domestic violence must maintain an outlet - save some money, give some clothes to a friend and plan an escape route, so that you can hide or get to the Police Station quickly.

No matter how scared or intimidated you are, be strong and do what is right for you.

Save your life and protect your freedom.

Some legal things a victim of domestic violence should do.

1. Make a report to the Police. 2. Get someone to do it for you if you cannot. 3. Let someone give a statement if they witnessed the incident. 4. Get a medical report within 48 hours from the doctor. No one should go through the torture of domestic violence alone. Get an elderly friend or your priest involved. If the abuse is not stopped then the best alternative is to walk away from the relationship and seek the advice of an Attorney-at-law about your legal rights.

For all women across Guyana I would like to wish each and everyone of you a blessed Christmas and a New Year free from all types of violence.

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