ARE YOU IN A PHYSICAL - PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP? KEY PROVISIONS FOR ABUSE VICTIMS
DEC 11, 2018 @5.11 PM
Psychological abuse is common and yet few understand the definition of psychological abuse to spot it. Without the signs of physical abuse, psychological abuse can stay hidden for years. It can be just as devastating as physical abuse, but in most cases it goes hand-in-hand.
Statistics on violence against women in Malaysia obtained from the Royal Malaysia Police and Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development from 2000 - 2016 revealed that there were 5796 reported cases of domestic violence, rape (1698), incest (253) and 1526 cases of outrage of modesty. However, the numbers of abuse of domestic workers, child abuse and sexual harassment in the workplace were unavailable.
A shocking revelation from the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry in 2017 revealed that 26 per cent of 15,617 cases of domestic violence (2014 – 2016) were against male spouse.
"Psychological abuse is when an individual is harassed verbally followed with fist or physical hurt resulting in diminished self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth said Dr Katyana Azman, Child Psychologist at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
Dr Mohammad Rahim Kamaluddin (pix), Criminologist and senior lecturer at University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) who agreed with Dr Katyana pointed out that psychological abuse - often referred to as mental abuse and emotional abuse is closely associated to physical abuse in many relationships which may begin as early as courtship in college and university.
"Psychological abuse is often manifested by shouting, name-calling, blaming, shaming, intimidation and stalking.
These tactics are designed to manipulate and control the victim while the perpetrator exerts his or her own power. Without the psychological abuse to keep the victim in line, the physical abuse would be less effective and the victim would be more likely to leave the abusive relationship,” he said.
“While physical abuse is harmful, psychological abuse leads to low self-worth, lack of independence and insecurities in a person that the victim may be afraid to leave the perpetrator and the relationship."
Manipulation and financial abuse whereby the perpetrator confiscates credit cards and puts the victim on an allowance while preventing the victim from holding a job, asserting dominance by picking out the victim’s clothes, humiliating the victim by revealing private information to others, threatening physical abuse or abuse on children or pets and using intimidation to preserve the power and control are all carried out to seek unquestioning obedience.
Playing the blame game to make believe that the victim are at fault or denying the abuse ever took place is yet another common trait. This invalidates the destructive effects of both the physical and emotional abuse and may make the victim believe that their merely imagining things.
Those who have different sexual orientation such as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered may be threatened that their sexual identity might be revealed.
Key provisions for abuse victims
Domestic Violence (Amendment) Act 2017 (DVA)
The DVA covers all aspects of familial relationships.
“It gives a clear definition of actions that cause psychological and emotional trauma such as threats, insulting the modesty of the victims, leaving distressing messages on electronic, social media and messaging platforms, misappropriation of funds or property involving the elderly," explained Criminologist and University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) senior lecturer Dr Mohammad Rahim Kamaluddin.
Interim Protection Order (IPO) and Protection Order (PO)
Under the DVA, the expansion of the IPO and PO includes victims of abusers who attempt to steal from them and those whose actions lead to victims’ depression.
“It also protects victims against offenders who threaten them or employ third parties to carry out act of violence against them; and offenders who contact victims to harass or embarrass them via any medium including text messaging.”
“In such cases, an IPO may be issued by the court while police investigations are on-going. If the accused is charged with an offence under the DVA, a PO is served to restrict the activities of the abuser,” he added.
Emergency Protection Order (EPO)
Kalaivani Leticia & Partners Legal practitioner Kalaivani Annadorai (pix) explained that an EPO provides immediate temporary protection to victims without the need to lodge a police report or go to court.
“He or she may visit the Department of Social Welfare, or in cases where the victim cannot be present physically, they can contact the department via telephone or through email. They could also contact Talian Nur 24/7 to obtain an EPO which is issued within two hours after an application is heard by a welfare officer."
The EPO is valid for seven days.
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