Physical abuse includes any form of physical force or assault with the intent of inflicting harm or creating fear of harm. It is, like other forms of abuse, aimed at gaining and maintaining control over another person.
Facts about physical abuse:
- Emotional and psychological abuse usually precede physical abuse.
- It is likely to become worse over time.
- It does not have to occur every day or often. It can happen once a week, once a month, or once a year.
- It does not always leave visible cuts, bruises, swelling or injury.
- It may not require medical treatment.
- It is against the law.
- Aside from the physical consequences, there are emotional and psychological effects that can result in withdrawal, substance abuse, anxiety, depression and suicide.
Pre-battering behaviors warn that physical abuse is on the way:
- increased arguing, blaming, tension and anger
- threats of violence
- throwing objects
- hitting or punching walls, doors or other objects
- breaking objects
Physical abuse includes:
- pushing, shoving, grabbing
- poking, pinching, twisting, squeezing, scratching
- spitting, biting, hair pulling, dragging
- slapping, hitting, punching, tripping, kicking, stomping, breaking bones
- choking, strangling
- burning, scalding
- causing a disability or disfigurement
- causing a miscarriage or forcing an abortion
- sleep deprivation
- forced alcohol or drug use or abuse
- kidnapping / false imprisonment
- assault with a substance, object or weapon
- sexual abuse/assault
- attempted murder
Neglect is also a form of physical abuse.
- denial of food or drink
- denial of medical care
- denial of clothing
- denial of bathing, hygiene, use of restroom
- denial of shelter
Physical abuse can leave lasting emotional scars that cause withdrawal, depression, anxiety, and suicide. There are also physical consequences such as headaches, ulcers, gastric disturbances, weight gain, weight loss and poor nutrition.
Behaviors that blame, degrade, belittle, minimize, manipulate, humiliate, intimidate, coerce, threaten, frighten or terrorize also qualify as abuse and have emotional and physical consequences as well.
Abuse is never acceptable, in any form. If you feel you are in an abusive relationship, contact a coalition in your state or any of these organizations that may apply to your situation:
The National Domestic Violence Helpline 800-799-SAFE (7233)
The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 866-331-9474
The National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-HOPE (4673)
ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)