Signs of Abuse and Where to Turn For Help
By Zachary Mushkatel on October 8, 2014
Domestic violence can impact any person of any age, ethnicity, or economic level, and both women and men are victims of abuse. Abusive behavior is unacceptable, whether it is physical or emotional, as well as being illegal. The first step in dealing with this very difficult issue is to acknowledge that it is taking place. If you are in fear and walk on eggshells so that your partner does not explode, it is time to take action. Your own life or that of your children could be in danger, as another factor in domestic abuse is the tendency for the abuse to escalate from angry blow-ups to physical attacks. You may not know where to turn for help, and you may be very fearful that you or your children will suffer serious consequences if you challenge the abuser. It is important that this matter is handled carefully so that you remain safe. Read about the most common indicators that you are in an abusive relationship and a victim of domestic violence:
- You are afraid. Your partner may have explosive fits of anger, throw things, threaten you, belittle you, humiliate you or swear at you. If you are afraid of your partner and what he or she may do, this is a sign that you are a victim of domestic violence.
- You carefully avoid certain subjects as you know your partner will become angry. Whether the subject is finances, children, work, or any topic, if you find yourself carefully avoiding discussing certain issues, this is a sign of domestic abuse. If your partner has a tendency to blow up and you are afraid of an angry explosion, you may try to appease the abuser, initially by just avoiding certain subjects. If you find yourself skirting issues due to not wanting to “upset” your partner, you may be a victim of domestic violence in the form of emotional abuse.
- You feel like you just cannot do anything right. If you are constantly criticized, harangued and belittled, believe you deserve the abuse to some degree, and have begun to believe you just are not good enough. In fact, this type of behavior is abusive and an effort to exert control. This form of emotional abuse is one of the most common types of domestic violence, and can have a long term impact on the emotional health of the victim as well as others in the household, particularly children who can suffer long term effects.
- You have been threatened with injury or have been told that you will be killed. Nothing is more frightening than being afraid that you will be injured or killed, or being told that if you take action, you will be injured or killed. This threat is sadly, often the first of many escalations, and you may eventually find yourself the victim of physical abuse.
- Your partner gets very angry, attacks you and then claims it will never happen again. Marriages and relationships that involve domestic violence often have the element in which the abuser is extremely sorry, and spends several days or weeks being particularly sweet or repentant. Many victims forgive the abuser and believe it will not happen again. The abusive actions will then happen again, and this cycle continues with the periods between the attacks and the repentant behavior getting shorter and shorter, and often with the abuse becoming more violent in each case. This is a situation that has extreme danger and it is imperative that you take steps to protect yourself.
- Your partner has threatened to commit suicide if you leave. Some victims feel trapped as they have been told that if they leave the relationship, the other party will commit suicide. This is a form of abuse and a way to control another person through emotional blackmail.
- Your partner has had a fit of anger in which he or she destroyed your personal belongings. If your partner has destroyed your belongings in a fit of rage, this is a sign of domestic violence, and is likely to be followed by more violent actions, some of which could lead to serious injury or death.
- Your partner forces you to have sexual intercourse. Spousal rape – forced sexual activity when unwanted – is illegal. Although you may be married, you still have the right to say “no.” If your partner ignores your appeal and forces you to engage in sexual acts, you are a victim of domestic violence.
- You have been injured in an attack. Any type of physical contact such as slapping, kicking, punching, choking, or similar action is domestic violence, no matter why or how it happened. If you or your children have been attacked physically in an angry outburst, you are at risk of further harm, which is most cases, will be worse each time it happens.
- You are afraid to report the abuse. Many people are caught in a trap in which they are humiliated, embarrassed and frightening and do not want to report the abuse for fear of retribution. Others are extremely embarrassed that they are being victimized and do not want to tell family or friends. If you are afraid to report the abuse, you need help to protect yourself and any children that may be in your household.
What to Do About Domestic Violence
You have certain protections available to you under the law. In Phoenix, you can quickly get an order of protection issued by a judge that will restrict the movements of the other party while this matter is resolved. Report the abuse to the authorities. Get a lawyer. Get a restraining order.
The Other Side of the Domestic Violence Story: False Accusations, Criminal Charges
In many cases, people are falsely accused of committing an act of domestic violence. A spouse may claim that you were abusive or violent to gain an advantage in a divorce or child custody dispute. If you have been charged with any domestic violence offense, your personal and professional reputation can be severely damaged, and it is crucial that you have legal representation to work with you. As many cases are either he said/she said or the alleged abuse was actually an act of self-defense, you cannot assume that you will be believed. It takes skilled legal representation to establish the veracity of your story and to contact various witnesses that have observed the situation and present evidence to support your defense. A Phoenix domestic violence defense attorney from Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC is prepared to review the facts of your case and help you take action for your defense. Your future could depend upon what you do now. Legal counsel can help you reduce the damage, avoid conviction, or in cases of false accusations, get the charges dismissed and the other party held accountable for his or her attempt to damage you through the criminal justice system. Call our attorney now if you are facing charges of domestic violence in the Phoenix area.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.