Physical Abuse is a pattern of physically hurtful behavior, in which one person inflicts physical hurt on another person.
This can be in the form of pushing, hitting, kicking, punching, slapping, and many other forms of physical aggression, which often will (but sometimes does not) leave a mark or injury on the victim.
From the least harmful (a push or a pinch) to the most dangerous (hands around someone’s neck, strangling, cutting off the supply of air and/or blood), physical abuse usually begins as a gesture which the abuser calls an “accident” or a result of “I just got jealous” or “I just love you so much,” and apologizes for, and over the length of the relationship, becomes highly aggressive, very dangerous, and leaves significant injuries. Victims often will tend to the increasing injuries at home and not call for medical help, minimizing the seriousness of the injuries until medical help is necessary. Sometimes the first report at the hospital of a person’s partner hurting them is the first time anyone knows about the abuse. The cracked ribs or concussion or black eye or dislocated thumb tells how serious the abuse in the relationship is, even when the victim doesn’t want to talk about it.
Often people assume if there is no physical contact, there is no physical abuse.
However, threats of physical harm by a partner as a part of the pattern of controlling behavior is also considered physical abuse. A victim in a relationship may have only been beaten once, but the severity, memory and impact of that incident may be enough to create the pattern of abuse every time the abuser threatens the victim with that same violence again. That threat of physical violence IS considered physical abuse.
Items thrown by a partner as a part of the pattern of controlling behavior is also considered physical abuse. It is common for an abusive partner to throw things during an abusive episode, and even when items are not thrown at a victim, items thrown in anger in the room which break and create a dangerous environment are part of creating a physically abusive situation. That threat of being harmed by flying, dangerous and possibly lethal items IS considered physical abuse.
If you are in a dangerous environment, or if you have been injured or fear you will be injured, please contact 9-1-1 for help. If you need information, our Advocates are available to you.