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The 4 kinds of domestic abuse you need to understand

You've been accused of many things in your life, but you never expected to be a young woman accused of domestic abuse. How could you be an abusive partner, when you're so much smaller than your husband? You've never physically attacked him, either. The truth is that there are multiple kinds of domestic violence and abuse. Typically, it's referred to as physical violence, but financial, emotional, sexual or physical abuse are all types as defined by law.

1. Physical abuse: What to look for

Physical abuse includes many things like pushing or hitting your partner. Slapping, biting, or breaking bones also qualify under the legal definition. Of course, when a person accuses you of physical abuse, it's important to talk to your attorney about what happened. In some cases, no abuse actually took place, and the spouse is looking to make a false claim. Other times, the so-called abuse was wanted or asked for during sexual play. There are many different reasons why something may appear to be abuse while it was actually consensual, accidental or never happened at all.

2. Financial abuse concerns matter

Financial abuse is when one spouse controls the household finances and withholds the other person's ability to have any financial power. For instance, if you take your husband's paycheck each month and refuse to give him any money other than a small allowance, this could be perceived as financial abuse. Of course, there are exceptions. For example, a household with a budget may have the money allocated to different bills and accounts. This is not abusive, particularly if the individual has a right to control the money he has after the bills are paid.

2. Verbal and emotional abuse hurt

Verbal and emotional abuse include things like name-calling, harassment, embarrassing your partner or intimidating him. It includes making threats or destroying the victim's property. Yelling and screaming both come under the verbal and emotional abuse umbrella. Other actions that are verbally or emotionally abusive include being possessive, isolating your spouse from friends and family and not trusting the other person's right to make a decision.

4. Sexual abuse does happen

Even in a consenting relationship, sexual abuse happens. If your husband said he didn't want to participate in a sexual act and you continued, then this is sexual abuse. In some relationships, particularly those involving roleplaying activities or bondage, it's particularly important to have safe words and to respect each other.

If you're accused of abusing your spouse, you're not alone. You have a chance to explain and discuss your charges with a legal professional.

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