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THE CYCLE OF SPOUSAL ABUSE
There Are Three Definite Stages In The Cycle Of Abuse And These Continue To Be Repeated Until The Victim Seeks Help to Stop It.

THE FIRST STAGE IS TENSION BUILDING.

The tension steadily builds as the abuser starts to get angry. Communication breaks down and the victim feels the need to listen to the abuser. As the tension increases, the victim feels uncomfortable and walks around in fear, watching their every move so they don’t make the abuser angrier. There might be some physical abuse such as slapping.

THE SECOND STAGE IS EXPLOSIVE.

This is where the worst abuse takes place and can take the form of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse. The victim will usually try to cover up the signs of abuse.

THE THIRD STAGE IS HONEYMOON PHASE.

The abuser apologises for the abuse or may even beg for forgiveness. There is very often a show of love – perhaps an offering of gifts and the promise that it will never happen again. On the other hand, the abuser may simply blame the victim for the abuse, or try to claim that the abuse was not so bad. The abuser may even deny that it ever happened. The victim – in this stage – is hopeful for change, and desperately wants to believe the promises.

… And Then ... It Starts All Over Again

ABUSE SHOULD NEVER BE TOLERATED

THE EFFECTS OF SPOUSAL ABUSE
People who are abused by a spouse may develop:
 
  • Sleeping problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of trust in others
  • Feelings of abandonment
  • Anger
  • Sensitivity to rejection
  • Worsening mental and physical health
  • Inability to work
  • Poor relationships with children and loved ones
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse as a way of coping
THE EFFECTS OF SPOUSAL ABUSE ON CHILDREN

In homes where spousal violence occurs, fear and insecurity replace the love and care that children need. The children are also affected, even if they are not abused themselves. When there is violence in the home, the children may live in constant fear that a loved one is going to be harmed.
 
When children see their parents being shouted at, pushed or hit, they:
  • May show their stress in various ways, including difficulty in sleeping, stomach aches, headaches, and behavioural problems such as withdrawing.
  • Feel confusion, stress, fear, shame, or think they are the cause of the problem.
  • May have difficulty making friends or have a fear of adults.
  • May develop emotional problems, cry excessively, or are withdrawn and shy.
  • Lack of trust in others.
  • May suffer from depression and excessive absences from school.
  • Grow up learning that it is okay to hurt other people or allow others to hurt them.
  • May use violence to solve problems at school and home.
  • Are more likely to use drugs.
  • Are at a greater risk of being a runaway, suicidal or committing criminal acts.
  • Are more likely to be abusive in their adult intimate relationships.
CHECKLIST: Does your partner...
  • Abuse alchohol or other drugs?
  • Have a history of trouble with the law, get into fights, or break and destory property?
  • Blame you for how they are treated, or for anything bad that happens?
  • Abuse siblings, other family members, children or pets?
  • Put down people, including your family and friends, or call them names?
  • Always get angry at someone or something?
  • Try to isolate you and control whom you see or where you go?
  • Nag you or force you to be sexual when you don’t want to be?
  • Get rough with you (push, shove, pull, squeeze, restrain)?
  • Take your money or take advantage of you in other ways?
  • Accuse you of flirting with others or of cheating?
  • Threaten suicide if you talk about breaking up?
  • Constantly put you down by calling you stupid, fat, or other names? 
Some Other Signs You May Be In An Abusive Relationship 
  • You’re afraid to break up with your partner.
  • You feel confined, like you always have to check-in with your partner.
  • You are unhappy or depressed, and find yourself crying a lot.
  • You worry and obsess about how to please your partner.
FAMILY VIOLENCE IS WRONG AND MUST BE STOPPED
 
 
 
ComCare Call - to be connected
          to a Family Service Centre (FSC)
          close to your home
         1800 222 0000
 
          PAVE
          6555 0390
          www.pave.org.sg
 
          TRANS SAFE Centre
          6449 9088
          www.transfamilyservices.org.sg
 
 
          Care Corner Project StART            
          6476 1482
 
          Samaritans of Singapore 
          1800 221 4444
 

 

 
 
WHAT IS SPOUSAL ABUSE?

Spousal abuse occurs when your spouse uses aggression, or verbal put-downs– including threats of violence – to control you and put you in fear. This can include physical acts, like slapping, shoving, and punching, as well as emotional acts, like verbal insults and put-downs as well as neglect.

 
Victims may
  • Be anxious or suffer from depression
  • Be financially dependent on the abuser
  • Believe they don’t deserve better
  • Have low self esteem and poor self image
  • Believe that things will improve if they just try harder
Abusers may
  • Be blind to their behaviour and feel they are justified
  • Have unrealistic expectations and demands
  • Have a strong need for power and control
  • Blame others for their actions

PHYSICAL ABUSE

This can sometimes start with threats of violence that then lead to the victim being pushed or shoved and eventually to more frequent and serious attacks such as slapping, pinching, punching, kicking, biting, choking, use of weapons or throwing of objects, all of which may be life threatening.

  • Wrongful confinement
  • Fear of the partner, or of the partner’s possible anger
  • Bruises
  • Cuts
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Head and facial injuries
  • Injury to arms and legs
EMOTIONAL ABUSE

Doing something on purpose to make the victim feel weak or vulnerable; threatening behaviour including insults, mind games, shouting and being overly critical. It also includes constant supervision, jealousy, possessiveness, humiliation and isolation.

  • Serious loss of self-esteem
  • Feelings of shame, anxiety, hopelessness and terror
  • Depression
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Inability to concentrate

SEXUAL ABUSE

Forcing the victim to do something they don’t want to do or refusing to have safe sex. It includes unwanted touching, fondling or groping, forced sexual activities, pressure to have sex, or even threats of sexual violence.

  • Physical injuries such as bruises and cuts– although many assaults can also take place without injury
DATING VIOLENCE

Research shows that in many cases of spousal abuse, abusive behaviour was already being exhibited before marriage (i.e. when said couple was still only dating). Many victims enter into marriage believing that the situation would improve, but that may not always be the case, and marriage may in fact make it harder for victims to extract themselves from the abusive relationship.
 
Dating violence is when one partner uses control to gain power over the other. It is usually a pattern – with a series of abusive behaviours over a course of time.
 
THE MAIN COMPONENTS OF DATING VIOLENCE ARE:

Physical Abuse
Using physical force to scare or cause injury. It can include pinching, shoving, hitting, slapping, grabbing, kicking, throwing, shaking and choking.
 
Sexual Abuse
Forcing the victim to do something they don’t want to do or refusing to have safe sex. It includes unwanted touching, fondling or groping, forced sexual activities, pressure to have sex, or even threats of sexual violence.
 
SIGNS OF PHYSICAL AND/OR SEXUAL ABUSE
  • Bruises, lesions and cuts
  • Broken bones
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Tears or bruises in the genital or anal areas
  • Unwanted pregnancy

 Emotional Abuse

Doing something on purpose to make the victim feel weak or vulnerable; threatening behaviour including insults, mind games, shouting and being overly critical. It also includes constant supervision, jealousy, possessiveness, humiliation and isolation.
 
SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Isolation from family, friends and other supportive individuals
  • Changes in behaviour at school or work - more withdrawn and distant, with slipping grades or job performances