How do you deal with verbal abuse

Psychological violence: Verbal attacks that leave traces

It started with uncontrolled behavior, outbursts of anger and suddenly the verbal frenzy was directed against the family. Psychological violence is a taboo subject - both in society and within the family. But where does psychological violence begin and where do victims find help?

Perpetrators use psychological violence to intimidate their counterpart, including under threat of physical violence. Psychological violence has just as much consequences as other acts of violence. Victims change through these attacks and begin to change their self-image. You lose confidence in yourself and other people. For example, anxiety disorders or sleep disorders can occur.

Outwardly, however, the perpetrators also keep the victim in appearance, so that it is hardly possible for outsiders to recognize the psychological violence. In addition, it does not leave any physical traces, but emotional ones.

Statistically, men are more likely to be the perpetrators, but there is also psychological violence against men that is perpetrated by women.

What is psychological violence? A definition

The following definition can be found in the Juraforum:

Psychological violence is a form of violence that does not involve beating. Psychological violence can be perpetrated in different ways and by means of different behaviors and strategies. The focus is always on weakening the victim, throwing them off balance and unsettling them.

The following facets of psychological violence B. in the family but also at work are conceivable:

  • Scare, coercion and threats
  • Harassment and terror
  • Insults, devaluations and defamations
  • isolation
  • Humiliation in public

Psychological violence: children must be protected in particular!

This form of violence hits children particularly badly and lastingly. They know how to help each other even less than the adult victim.

In addition to the facets already mentioned, children often suffer from the following acts of violence:

Where does psychological violence begin?

Mental violence is usually not an issue all of a sudden. Often it starts insidiously and then slowly increases. A border crossing here, a humiliation there and then nothing for months. The spiral of violence is slowly starting to move and the whole situation is getting worse.

Of course, sentences can be uttered in a dispute that are not in order and for which the disputeers apologize afterwards. Offenders of psychological violence often have the right goals:

  • Power and dominance
  • control
  • Privileges

They bring their victims under control, feel superior, and thereby affirm their self-esteem. In addition, the perpetrator will try to isolate his victim socially and thus remove any contact person who could help.

Is psychological violence a criminal offense?

Since psychological violence is very diverse, there is no single offense in the law either. There are several things to consider:

For example, a threat is punished with a year imprisonment or a fine. If the perpetrator chases after his victim in such a way that his or her life is seriously impaired, there is a risk of up to three years imprisonment or a fine.

If the perpetrator puts the victim or his relatives in such a danger by stalking that there is danger to life or serious damage to health, there is a risk of up to five years in prison. If the perpetrator's behavior leads to death, he can be imprisoned for up to ten years. Important to know: As a rule, stalking is only prosecuted by the criminal authorities if the victim reports the perpetrator.

In addition to the Criminal Code, the Violence Protection Act is also available to punish offenders. Here is z. B. the prohibition of approach and the prohibition of contact anchored. If there is psychological violence in the marriage, an application for early divorce can also be filed on the basis of this law.

How do you report psychological violence?

If a victim wants to report the perpetrator, a distinction must first be made between whether the criminal act (e.g. coercion, extortion) should be prosecuted or whether the victim needs protection under civil law (e.g. no contact).

When it comes to reporting the crime, the police are the right people to talk to. If it comes to a ban on approach or contact, victims turn to the family court. A lawyer can also help in this matter.

Unlike z. In the case of domestic violence, for example, psychological violence often raises the question of how the victim can prove the attack to the perpetrator. It is therefore advisable to keep a diary and document the attacks here. Voice and text messages should also be kept. Maybe there are already witnesses?

Help with psychological violence: contact points

Understandably, victims of psychological violence are terrified and shy away from asking official bodies for help. There are several contact points in every city. If it is a question of psychological violence against women, women's shelters are a good address. The frightened women not only find spatial protection here, but also receive help if they want to report a complaint. You can find an overview of women's shelters in Germany on the women's information network against violence.

Victims of psychological violence can also receive help over the phone: The helpline for women victims of violence is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 08000116016. There is free advice. For children, the number against Kummer is available on 0202 2590590. There is also telephone counseling for all matters. Can be reached on 0800/111 0 111.

Mental violence against children: Effects of mental violence in childhood and later in life
Emotional violence in couple relationships. Forms of intervention and coping strategies

Source: on psychological violence, re-empowerment, Federal Association of Women's Advice Centers and Women's Emergency Call Women against Violence e.V.

My conclusion

Whenever I deal with this topic, I am always shocked at how subtly perpetrators work and victims are intimidated. Here in particular, it is so difficult to help and intervene.

I would like the victims to realize much earlier that they are not to blame for the situation, seek help and then get it.

Image source: Gettyimages / djedzura

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