Physical abuse is the act of intentionally causing someone harm or injury through physical force. In an abusive relationship, it can involve restraining someone or asserting physical dominance through acts of aggression or intimidation. Physical abuse can include damaging property, smashing things, slamming doors, punching walls, and using threatening behaviour or gestures.
Physical abuse in a relationship is often a tool to gain further control when emotional abuse and coercive or controlling behaviour are also a factor in the relationship. Acts of physical abuse may start as seemingly small acts but can escalate over time.
The abuser may be extremely remorseful after an attack and may even cry and beg forgiveness. They may also blame you and say that the abuse is your fault. There may be a period of reconciliation, followed by a ‘honeymoon period’ and then the cycle starts again. The perpetrator may also blame their behaviour on stress, drink or drugs and make you feel as though if only those things could be sorted out, they would stop the violence or abusive behaviour. Whatever the excuse, the abuse is never your fault.
Physical abuse may include all or some of the following:
- Pushing or shoving
- Smashing things or slamming doors
- Physically intimidating you
- Squeezing or grabbing
- Hitting, punching, or slapping
- Strangulation or choking
- Locking you in a room or removing your means of escape
- Forcing you to drink or take drugs
- Use of weapons or household items to threaten or injure you
If you are concerned that your partner, or a family member is physically abusing you, IDAS can offer advice and support.
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