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Shelter's definition of abuse


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http://www.yellowbrickhouse.org/english ... -is-abuse/

Part of me doesn't want to snark on this, since this is a shelter in my area that serves an important role, but I had some concerns after reading this.

The problem, to me, is that this definition includes stuff that it truly bad and deserves attention, and lumps it in with other stuff that may indicate a bad relationship, but not "OMG go to a shelter" abuse.

Issues I have:

- no recognition that women can engage in domestic violence against men

- "ongoing criticism" and "passive-aggressive control" are described as emotional abuse

- "withholding sex" and "demeaning women sexually through jokes" are described as sexual abuse

- "degrading spiritual beliefs" is described as spiritual abuse

Now, I'm not saying that these are great things to do. I'm just really concerned about taking some really broad and somewhat common behaviors, and sticking the abuse label on them. After all, this is a place which is getting government funding and private donations to help victims of abuse. To my mind, that should mean something more than "husband won't sleep with her" or "husband made a snarky comment about fundie beliefs".

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I don't see anything wrong with it. This is a Women's Shelter where people go for assistance, not "proving" abuse in a court of law. Those are fairly standard definitions of abuse and it does recognise that women can also be perpetrators.

It is also recognized that in our society, violence against women is perpetrated predominantly, but not exclusively, by males against females. There are, however, female perpetrators of violence. Although the abuse may involve repeated episodes with increasing severity, it may also be a one-time occurrence causing physical or emotional injury that is detrimental to the woman’s well being or that of her family.

Psychological and emotional abuse

Is any act that provokes fear, diminishes the woman’s dignity or sense of self-worth, and/or intentionally inflicts psychological trauma as a means of exerting power and control over the woman. These may include, but are not limited to, on-going criticism, intimidation, humiliation, overly sarcastic comments, passive/aggressive control, harassment, threats to harm self or others, threats to harm pets, threats associated with immigration status, threats to take children away, inappropriate expressions of jealousy, brainwashing, dominance, degradation, possessiveness, control over daily activities, social isolation, purposeful destruction of property and use of privilege in society to threaten or coerce.

This may seem a bit over the top, but generally the challenge is to help people understand and accept that psychological abuse is real and potentially incredibly damaging. Many people don't realize that you don't have to be physically hurt to be abused. Psychological and emotional abuse can also be cumulative. It starts are a "joke" at the person's expense and can end up as true psychological trauma.

Sexual abuse

Includes any unwanted or forced sexual activity, including touching and intercourse. It also includes the possibility of exposure to sexual transmitted diseases and/or pregnancy by denying the use of protection during intercourse, and forced exposure to or participation in pornography or prostitution. It also includes withholding sex and demeaning women sexually through jokes, and sexual accusations.

Good. They included marital and partner sexual abuse. Witholding sex often goes hand in hand with screwing around with other partners because you are "unworthy." Jokes aren't funny if they are denigrating and public accusations that you are either frigid or a prostitute.

Spiritual abuse

Includes degrading the woman’s spiritual beliefs, withholding the means to practice, and/or forcing adherence to a particular belief system.

I am really glad they included this. It is too often omitted.

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"Ongoing criticism" is emotional abuse (verbal abuse). Very much so. It's ongoing after all. Hearing on a daily basis that you have done something wrong or failed to do something, will affect your self-esteem negatively. I'm saying this, as someone who never heard a single positive thing from her step-dad during her whole childhood. I only got his attention when I did something wrong. I dreaded his attention by that reason (yet I hoped/wished I would get his approval someday for something). I used to hide in my room, so he wouldn't find a chance to criticize me for something/anything. I was very clumsy though, so I was an easy target for his criticism. I think the criticism became more like bullying though.

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"Ongoing criticism" is emotional abuse (verbal abuse). Very much so. It's ongoing after all. Hearing on a daily basis that you have done something wrong or failed to do something, will affect your self-esteem negatively. I'm saying this, as someone who never heard a single positive thing from her step-dad during her whole childhood. I only got his attention when I did something wrong. I dreaded his attention by that reason (yet I hoped/wished I would get his approval someday for something). I used to hide in my room, so he wouldn't find a chance to criticize me for something/anything. I was very clumsy though, so I was an easy target for his criticism. I think the criticism became more like bullying though.

Absolutely. I'm sorry you went through that. Emotional abuse leaves real scars that are hard to heal.

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so...where does man being abused go? if his wife continually berates or is abuses him any of these ways, what does he do for help.being dead serious here.

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Non-physical violence is difficult to pin down because it's a pattern of behavior that is cumulative. Physical abuse is sort of easy to define. If you're husband hits you, even once, you're being abused. However, for example, if your husband tells you you're gaining weight once, it's not necessarily abusive. But if he continually criticizes your physical appearance and undermines your self-confidence in an effort to control you, that's abusive.

Non-physical abuse is far from clear cut so I'm glad this shelter has examples of it available for women to better articulate how they feel they've been victimized.

I do agree with you that shelters should try to address issues of domestic violence against men, though I do see how lack of funding could limit how helpful they're able to be for male victims.

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http://www.yellowbrickhouse.org/english/about/what-is-abuse/

Part of me doesn't want to snark on this, since this is a shelter in my area that serves an important role, but I had some concerns after reading this.

The problem, to me, is that this definition includes stuff that it truly bad and deserves attention, and lumps it in with other stuff that may indicate a bad relationship, but not "OMG go to a shelter" abuse.

Issues I have:

- no recognition that women can engage in domestic violence against men

- "ongoing criticism" and "passive-aggressive control" are described as emotional abuse

- "withholding sex" and "demeaning women sexually through jokes" are described as sexual abuse

- "degrading spiritual beliefs" is described as spiritual abuse

Now, I'm not saying that these are great things to do. I'm just really concerned about taking some really broad and somewhat common behaviors, and sticking the abuse label on them. After all, this is a place which is getting government funding and private donations to help victims of abuse. To my mind, that should mean something more than "husband won't sleep with her" or "husband made a snarky comment about fundie beliefs".

A woman is not going to seek help from a shelter if her husband turns down the occasional shag or if he makes an insensitive about her church. That's being a jerk.

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so...where does man being abused go? if his wife continually berates or is abuses him any of these ways, what does he do for help.being dead serious here.

Most shelters assist men and same sex partners, not just abused women in hetero relationships.

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http://www.yellowbrickhouse.org/english/about/what-is-abuse/

Part of me doesn't want to snark on this, since this is a shelter in my area that serves an important role, but I had some concerns after reading this.

The problem, to me, is that this definition includes stuff that it truly bad and deserves attention, and lumps it in with other stuff that may indicate a bad relationship, but not "OMG go to a shelter" abuse.

Issues I have:

- no recognition that women can engage in domestic violence against men

- "ongoing criticism" and "passive-aggressive control" are described as emotional abuse

- "withholding sex" and "demeaning women sexually through jokes" are described as sexual abuse

- "degrading spiritual beliefs" is described as spiritual abuse

Now, I'm not saying that these are great things to do. I'm just really concerned about taking some really broad and somewhat common behaviors, and sticking the abuse label on them. After all, this is a place which is getting government funding and private donations to help victims of abuse. To my mind, that should mean something more than "husband won't sleep with her" or "husband made a snarky comment about fundie beliefs".

I completely agree and it is one of my pet peeves. Lumping 'sarcastic comments' in the same realm as 'punched in the face' and labeling both abuse completely minimizes life threatening physical abuse.

Of course there can be extreme cases of emotional/spiritual/financial abuse - but the way these things read your partner saying "hey, stop spending all the rent money on video games" is "financial control" and abusive.

A very real problem with having such broad definitions of abuse is that people who are fleeing actual severe abuse can't get into a shelter because there is no space, and sometimes this space is taken by people who are not actually fleeing domestic violence but qualify due to the broad scope of the definitions.

People will probably not seek shelter due to an argument or minor issues if they are housed - but people will try to get into domestic violence shelters based on fitting these definitions when other shelters and housing programs are full and they want services. Which wouldn't be so bad if there was unlimited shelter and services available - but there's not, and it takes places away from people in life- threatening situations.

But, yeah, I think it really trivializes actual abuse.

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Yes, some women's shelters accept men from abusive same sex relationships, but not all.

Abused men are definitely still underserved by DV shelters partly because the numbers are fewer, and because historically they have found it harder to admit to being abused. They are also much less likely to have children with them, and have been perceived as more able to help themselves and less in need of shelter because they are more likely to be employed.

Some end up on the floors of friends and family, some in Homeless Shelters -- and yes, good homeless shelters do provide counselling for DV.

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so...where does man being abused go? if his wife continually berates or is abuses him any of these ways, what does he do for help.being dead serious here.

This is one of the problems w/ patriarchy--because women's problems are seen as purely a woman's problem--so strictly gender-ed (and 'beneath' man problems), they're seen as something that men are above suffering from.

There aren't many good answers on places to go. Heck, often, when you try to find info on domestic violence issues, it's framed as men doing it to women or women doing it to men; not as a possible same-gender relationship issue.

That said, locally the YWCA and YMCA do have services for men in these situations as well. And the domestic abuse helpline is getting more inclusive and more options.

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I completely agree and it is one of my pet peeves. Lumping 'sarcastic comments' in the same realm as 'punched in the face' and labeling both abuse completely minimizes life threatening physical abuse.

Of course there can be extreme cases of emotional/spiritual/financial abuse - but the way these things read your partner saying "hey, stop spending all the rent money on video games" is "financial control" and abusive.

A very real problem with having such broad definitions of abuse is that people who are fleeing actual severe abuse can't get into a shelter because there is no space, and sometimes this space is taken by people who are not actually fleeing domestic violence but qualify due to the broad scope of the definitions.

People will probably not seek shelter due to an argument or minor issues if they are housed - but people will try to get into domestic violence shelters based on fitting these definitions when other shelters and housing programs are full and they want services. Which wouldn't be so bad if there was unlimited shelter and services available - but there's not, and it takes places away from people in life- threatening situations.

But, yeah, I think it really trivializes actual abuse.

Have you ever worked in DV? To the bolded -- no. Never to my knowledge has someone taken up a place in a Women's Shelter for a trivial reason. Sometimes people in real need of protection from serious abuse are placed in other shelters or SROs because the Women's shelter is full but they are moved to a safer place as soon as possible.

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This may seem a bit over the top, but generally the challenge is to help people understand and accept that psychological abuse is real and potentially incredibly damaging. Many people don't realize that you don't have to be physically hurt to be abused. Psychological and emotional abuse can also be cumulative. It starts are a "joke" at the person's expense and can end up as true psychological trauma.

All of the highlighted ones except the threat to take children away are why a close family member is finally leaving her husband of over a decade. Now that she's trying to leave he's still attempting to manipulate her and is also threatening to take the child, who hasn't been told, but knows something is wrong and clings to her mother and her mother's side of the family because she senses the anger from the father's side. At her birthday party she had to be forced to spend time with her father's family, including walking them to the car.

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I am completely fine with everything laid out on the site. You don't think that demeaning a woman sexually through jokes on a continual basis is abusive? I find that both verbally and emotionally abusive for sure.

Leaving an abusive partner is extremely difficult, we don't need high standards and qualifications to make sure that women who leave are worthy of the help these non-profits provide.

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Have you ever worked in DV? To the bolded -- no. Never to my knowledge has someone taken up a place in a Women's Shelter for a trivial reason. Sometimes people in real need of protection from serious abuse are placed in other shelters or SROs because the Women's shelter is full but they are moved to a safer place as soon as possible.

Yes, I do actually work in the field, and have had several clients who used these kinds of definitions to get into the domestic violence women's shelter. It may not be a problem in a place with cheaper housing/ shelters with open beds - but in my area housing is hugely expensive, wait lists for subsidized housing are years long (if open at all ) and the regular shelters have waits of months.

I've also worked with many women who were literally fearing for their lives because they had the shit beat out of them and the dv shelter was full.

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I am completely fine with everything laid out on the site. You don't think that demeaning a woman sexually through jokes on a continual basis is abusive? I find that both verbally and emotionally abusive for sure.

Leaving an abusive partner is extremely difficult, we don't need high standards and qualifications to make sure that women who leave are worthy of the help these non-profits provide.

I would agree with you if there were unlimited services available. But there isn't. So hopefully you can prioritize the woman ( or man ) whose spouse has been beating them senseless for years and threatening the kids lives if he/she leaves over the man or woman whose spouse is making demeaning sexual jokes.

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what happens when a shelter is full to bursting and one women shows up with bruises and another saying she has been abused by her partner has been taking her money and joking/talking about raping her?

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All of the highlighted ones except the threat to take children away are why a close family member is finally leaving her husband of over a decade. Now that she's trying to leave he's still attempting to manipulate her and is also threatening to take the child, who hasn't been told, but knows something is wrong and clings to her mother and her mother's side of the family because she senses the anger from the father's side. At her birthday party she had to be forced to spend time with her father's family, including walking them to the car.

It is amazing how much it eats into the soul and psyche.

I have a sister who...well, would probably be very popular on FJ. She's bright and witty and outspoken and bold and brash and takes no shit off no one, never.

Except for those 3? years she spent w/ the boyfriend (the one that was one of her few BFs I ever liked :oops: ). The 2 years when she still prsented that face to the world but went home to be lied to and joked about and called names and intimidated and belittled until she was a shell of herself. The passive-aggressive subtly is, even now, plenty of education, therapy and the like later, still makign her doubt herself and pointing her toward men who...well are crap.

She didn't leave when the abusive ass broke her dog's ceramic water bowl over her face.

She didn't leave when he stole her paycheck and TV and bought crack with it.

She did eventually make the break but, if anyone was 'immune' from the abuse and bullshit, it would be this girl. But...she wasn't. The insidious little things chipped and chipped and chipped and chipped until, finally, the physical crap was the least of what he was doing to her.

The years of lead-up emotional crap are what made the physical abuse possible.

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I think that would depend on the particular shelter system set up. For the most part DV shelter locations are kept secret, so screening is done over the phone or at an off-site office. Generally there is either a waiting list of people who meet the basic criteria, or if the place has open beds it is first come/ first served if they meet basic eligibility. Some shelters might have a ranking priority system of some sort, that generally will include things like prioritizing someone with a disability over someone without, for example. Depending on funding sources they might also have other screening priorities ( lives in one city or another, fits the federal definition of homeless, children etc.)

Hopefully, if you had two people walk in /call at the exact same time and one is covered in bruises and the other has a partner taking their money/ joking about rape they will take the woman with the bruises, but I don't think that is how the screening system generally works.

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what happens when a shelter is full to bursting and one women shows up with bruises and another saying she has been abused by her partner has been taking her money and joking/talking about raping her?

My office (DA) will find another shelter. If we cant, we'll put her in a hotel until we can find a shelter. They're not always the most desirable shelter, sometimes they're quite far away, but safe is safe. I dont know of any "walk in" shelters. All of the ones I deal with are referral only.

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here goes.

i have never actually admitted this to anyone but i was abused every single way as a child.i never let any one know because i knew it would cause more trouble and terror to certain other people ie. my grandmother needed me as an emotional crutch-her husband and son abused her horribly-and i felt i could not leave her so got most of it also if i was not very, very careful-did not always work.my mother had enough to deal with with a drunken husband who stole her money to by beer and so could not keep a job.she was on edge as is and i did not want her starting stuff with them for every ones sake.so i got beat by mother because of her temper and because she knew of no other way,emotionally/mentally abused by everyone and indirectly sexually abused by dad who made me sit on his lap as he looked at porn.

i don't really function well.

i knew none of this ws my fault like they say children do-i knew they were all fucked up and did not want to cause more problem by saying anything.

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here goes.

i have never actually admitted this to anyone but i was abused every single way as a child.i never let any one know because i knew it would cause more trouble and terror to certain other people ie. my grandmother needed me as an emotional crutch-her husband and son abused her horribly-and i felt i could not leave her so got most of it also if i was not very, very careful-did not always work.my mother had enough to deal with with a drunken husband who stole her money to by beer and so could not keep a job.she was on edge as is and i did not want her starting stuff with them for every ones sake.so i got beat by mother because of her temper and because she knew of no other way,emotionally/mentally abused by everyone and indirectly sexually abused by dad who made me sit on his lap as he looked at porn.

i don't really function well.

i knew none of this ws my fault like they say children do-i knew they were all fucked up and did not want to cause more problem by saying anything.

:romance-caress:

I don't have anything to say except that your experiences are way too normal for many kids.

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here goes.

i have never actually admitted this to anyone but i was abused every single way as a child.i never let any one know because i knew it would cause more trouble and terror to certain other people ie. my grandmother needed me as an emotional crutch-her husband and son abused her horribly-and i felt i could not leave her so got most of it also if i was not very, very careful-did not always work.my mother had enough to deal with with a drunken husband who stole her money to by beer and so could not keep a job.she was on edge as is and i did not want her starting stuff with them for every ones sake.so i got beat by mother because of her temper and because she knew of no other way,emotionally/mentally abused by everyone and indirectly sexually abused by dad who made me sit on his lap as he looked at porn.

i don't really function well.

i knew none of this ws my fault like they say children do-i knew they were all fucked up and did not want to cause more problem by saying anything.

:romance-grouphug:

Overcoming abuse is a hard thing to do. It works its way into your very being and has a profound impact. If you're in the US and need some help getting counseling (if you want counseling) I'd love to help you. If you PM me your general location I can get some numbers for you. The human mind is an amazing thing and, with the right help, you can heal.

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i know. i wish i could have found a way to speak out safely for everyone.they tried counseling when noticed things at school but i would not say anything.i was also afraid to be taken away and they would have.

i would like some help yes. thank you.

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