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What is spousal abuse?

You may assume that being in a committed relationship or marriage means that you will be involved in a fight with your partner or spouse at some point. It is true that disagreements are common and even healthy in many cases, but that does not mean that a disagreement should ever become violent or otherwise abusive. Spousal abuse is a major problem that affects millions of people across the state of North Carolina and the entire country. Acknowledging the types of behavior that can be considered domestic abuse under the law, as well as potential warning signs of abuse, can go a long way to help keep you and your family safe and healthy. discusses spousal abuse and all of the different forms of mistreatment it can take, and explains that it can be physical, emotional and/or sexual in nature. Physical assault and violence are the types of domestic abuse that most people think of when they consider the topic. It is estimated that one in every four women, and one in every seven men, has experienced some type of physical abuse during the course of a relationship. Physical abuse is defined as any act of violence that can possibly result in injury, which includes everything from slapping to choking to throwing objects.

Emotional abuse can be just as detrimental to your safety and health as physical abuse. It is characterized as any action intended to demean, shame, embarrass or ridicule a person in order to manipulate or hurt him or her. Emotional abuse can take the form of name-calling, controlling behavior and intimidation tactics. Making threats of abandonment and/or physical violence can also be considered forms of emotional abuse.

It is also important to understand that physical intimacy can be considered sexual abuse in a committed relationship. Marital rape and sexual abuse are defined as violence that relies upon sexual acts to injure, degrade or humiliate a person. Deliberately inflicting pain during sex and/or forcing a partner or spouse to have sex can be considered a form of spousal abuse.