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Emotional abuse, how to prove.

(30 Posts)
Homely1 Thu 29-Oct-15 23:04:41

So many people are affected by emotional abuse; I understand that there will be laws coming in regarding this. Nonetheless, I feel that abusers get away with it and continue on abusing even is a relationship has ended. In real life, how does one prove emotional abuse legally in retrospect (there is nothing to 'see' and an abuser will never admit to it) such that the abuser get dealt with.

kittybiscuits Thu 29-Oct-15 23:17:37

I think about this a lot too. I couldn't get support from the police in the face of persistent, prolongued abusive shouting in front of the children. My ex has a completely plausible and entirely fictitious narrative about the break up of the relationship and the reasons for it. My own family collude in this with him. It's very hard to see how the police could be convinced that emotional abuse is taking place. I have a lot of abusive texts. I have some recordings (illegal) but they represent a fraction of what took place. I would love to understand more about how EA can be proven.

ImperialBlether Thu 29-Oct-15 23:19:33

I would record where possible, even if it helps you realise it's a really unhealthy environment.

Seeyounearertime Thu 29-Oct-15 23:34:03

I think it will be hard to pinpoint what constitutes emotional abuse tbh. Where do you draw the line between abuse and normal moods and situations etc?
It's a really hard subject and one that I think of a lot.

UmbongoUnchained Thu 29-Oct-15 23:34:04

I used to record all my conversations over with my ex over phone. It was enough to get him arrested, but sadly as it was his first time being arrested he was let off with a caution.

StrictlyMumDancing Thu 29-Oct-15 23:40:40

I find this hard to figure out too. I knew someone with logs on conversations, recordings etc. Turns out they were heavily edited and never showed the initial provocations. Not that either party were outstanding in their behaviours btw, just that its never as black and white as things seem. Which completely sucks for people who genuinely suffer in these circumstances.

But I'm also struck by knowing how little gets legally done in proof of violent threats made by neighbours, so god knows how it works if its someone who is in your own home.

Seeyounearertime Thu 29-Oct-15 23:48:55

It's just what is EA? You get beyond the obvious shouting and screaming and calling names etc. and it becomes such a tough definition, a definition that likely changes from person to person.
I've seen threads here where the man has gone in a mood because of a lack of sex, is that EA or is it just a typical mantrum?
How about a woman getting angry and going silent if man doesn't do what she says is enough housework? Is that emotional abuse?
It's tough, I would dread ever being accused of abusing my GF in that way. sad

Bogeyface Fri 30-Oct-15 00:04:50

I think that there needs to be a change in the law over what is admissible in court.

As it is (I think) if the person who is recorded/videoed doesnt know that they are being recorded then it isnt admissible, but if you told them then they wouldnt act abusively! Videos/recordings taken in abusive situation should be made admissible in court and the abuser should be made to explain their actions and defend them.

Until that happens, I dont know how it can be proved without pages and pages of emails/texts, which most abusers are wise to, so the abuse only happens face to face with no witnesses (or only witnessed by children who are too young to be taken seriously or testify).

Maybe that could be an MN campaign.

Lovehandles Fri 30-Oct-15 00:25:56

I think this covers most of it...

psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/02/20/signs-of-emotional-abuse/

LuisCarol Fri 30-Oct-15 00:46:01

*I've seen threads here where the man has gone in a mood because of a lack of sex, is that EA or is it just a typical mantrum?
How about a woman getting angry and going silent if man doesn't do what she says is enough housework? Is that emotional abuse? *

Going to skip wide eyed straight over the words "typical mantrum" here and point out that a "woman getting angry and going silent" is statistically in no way comparable to a "man (who) has gone in a mood". I mean, given we're talking about abuse, and all.

Woman getting angry and going silent might at worst lead to silence. Man has gone in a mood might at worst lead to murder.

Bogeyface Fri 30-Oct-15 00:53:22

luis

I have to call sexism on that. Women can abusers too. Statistically, yes more women are victims of abuse than men, but that doesnt mean that women are never abusers. Men are far less likely to report abuse from a female partner than vice versa, so the statistics are skewed by that very fact.

I think that EA is proven by a pattern of behaviour. When I am pissed off then sometimes I dont talk much. Its not sulking, its not punishing "silent treatement", its just that I dont want to talk right now. H does the same thing. However, if I did that every single time I was questioned or argued with then that would be EA.

LuisCarol Fri 30-Oct-15 01:07:30

I didn't say women are never abusers(emotional or otherwise), I said the two lines he(?) used re women and men are not comparable.

The statistics say a man getting "in a mood" over something he thinks he deserves often has far worse consequences than a woman "going silent" over something that is fair.

Bogeyface Fri 30-Oct-15 01:11:22

Yes the statistics say that, I agree.

My point is that the statistics are based on the fact that women are far more likely to report abuse than men.

LuisCarol Fri 30-Oct-15 01:14:22

Do you think that is because it happens equally but men don't report it or because it happens in a gendered way?

Bogeyface Fri 30-Oct-15 01:24:22

Honestly?

I think that men and women abuse equally, but that each gender uses its strengths.

Men (usually) are physically more able and stronger so they use that, whereas female abusers tend to use emotional abuse.

Bogeyface Fri 30-Oct-15 01:28:51

For example, a man who isnt getting as much sex as he would like may use physical and sexual abuse to get what he wants. A woman who isnt getting as much sex as she would like may use emotional abuse to get what she wants.

The end result is a partner who has had sex that they dont want to have. Is either ok? I dont think it is.

I say all of this as a woman who has experienced PA and SA, I am no abuse apologist. But it does piss me off that men cant stand up and say that they are being abused without being called liars.

LuisCarol Fri 30-Oct-15 01:40:24

Honestly?

Yes. And thank you for doing so, even though I disagree.

I think that men and women abuse equally

Define equally? In equal volume? Outcome? Number? Something else?

*but that each gender uses its strengths.

Men (usually) are physically more able and stronger so they use that, whereas female abusers tend to use emotional abuse.*

I disagree that male abusers don't use emotional abuse as well, and that may be where we're sticking.

For example, a man who isnt getting as much sex as he would like may use physical and sexual abuse to get what he wants. A woman who isnt getting as much sex as she would like may use emotional abuse to get what she wants.

But that wasn't the comparison you pulled me up on. The comparison was a man in a mood for a lack of sex vs a woman silent for lack of help with housework, and I don't think they are comparable things, either in intent or scale or outcome.

The end result is a partner who has had sex that they dont want to have. Is either ok? I dont think it is. Of course it isn't, and it's not what I said at any point

I say all of this as a woman who has experienced PA and SA, I am no abuse apologist. But it does piss me off that men cant stand up and say that they are being abused without being called liars.

I never said they couldn't, I said the scale and pattern of abuse is gendered. And that is a problem.

LuisCarol Fri 30-Oct-15 01:41:15

I am so rubbish at mn emphasis, I'm so sorry. I hope it's readable.

RonaldMcDonald Fri 30-Oct-15 01:55:35

To some extent I'm bemused by the idea of prosecuting EA. I think it is ideal in principle but impossible in practice.

Unlike most mumsnetters I had a very physically violent and emotionally abusive mother. Those unicorns that we pretend don't exist.
She was matched by my father who was explosively violent but at least worked away from home for long periods.

I know a large number of women as friends, colleagues and others who have issues with their anger and have occasionally/repeatedly used violence on their partners usually whilst under the influence of alcohol
Some are controlling, jealous, obsessive and filled with cripplingly low self esteem. Some simply have poor anger control.
Usually they don't seek help for it and often if fizzles out as they age.

Perhaps mumsnet really is a place where there aren't violent mums and females family members. I have pondered on this many times
I have always wondered why admitting this is so taboo for women...but then we never see it here

Bogeyface Fri 30-Oct-15 02:07:15

Dont misunderstand me, I agree that men emotionally abuse too, I just meant that we play to our strengths or learned behaviour so men tend to PA (and EA) whereas women usually lean towards EA as they dont have the ability to PA.

In terms of "equally" I mean that each gender can and does abuse their partners, but that the way they abuse may be different.

The comparison was a man in a mood for a lack of sex vs a woman silent for lack of help with housework

I feel that the reason isnt relevant. Its the reaction that is the issue, be that sulking, silent treatment, violence or initiating an adult conversation to solve the problem. I notice that you say the he is "in a mood" whereas she is "silent". You dont say that he is "pissed off" and she is "giving the silent treatment", your accusations are gender biased.

Also, you imply that men would be in a mood through lack of sex and that women would be silent through lack of help with housework.

A) not all men are obsessed with sex to the point of a mood B) not all women do housework and C) no woman needs "help" (your word) but she may expect her partner to do his share. More gender bias.

LuisCarol Fri 30-Oct-15 02:15:53

I notice that you say the he is "in a mood" whereas she is "silent". You dont say that he is "pissed off" and she is "giving the silent treatment", your accusations are gender biased.

Also, you imply that men would be in a mood through lack of sex and that women would be silent through lack of help with housework.

A) not all men are obsessed with sex to the point of a mood B) not all women do housework and C) no woman needs "help" (your word) but she may expect her partner to do his share. More gender bias.

None of those were my terms, they were what I was objecting to!

LuisCarol Fri 30-Oct-15 02:18:27

I've literally been quoting those terms and concepts from the post I objected to as reasons I objected to it!

Bumbledumb Fri 30-Oct-15 02:48:02

women usually lean towards EA as they dont have the ability to PA

My wife sounds much like the friends of RonaldMcDonald. The instances of physical abuse have reduced both in intensity and frequency over the years. Reacting physically was never an option as that would just lead to it escalating to even worse violence, and I have no desire to hurt her.

Women definitely have the ability to physically abuse their partners.

APlaceOnTheCouch Fri 30-Oct-15 05:04:04

Seeyounearer I can't imagine why you would dread that your GF would accuse you of being EA because although the law may have difficulty pinpointing EA, I think both parties to an EA relationship know they are in one. It's not about a one-off huff or grump. EA is sustained.

A very simple explanation that was used when they first tabled the EA law in the UK was:
people who control their partners through threats or by restricting their personal or financial freedom,
Police felt it would stop abusers being able to slip through the net.

I think the important point about EA being against the law is that it validates victims' experiences even if they don't follow through with a court case. In the US, there was a 50% rise in the number of women coming forward to report abuse cases after EA laws were introduced.

LeaveMyWingsBehindMe Fri 30-Oct-15 05:22:49

I think in order for the police to be able to form some sort of definition of what constitutes EA for the purposes of bringing charges, it would really help if certain posters on MN didn't consistently and hysterically label every minor mood, disagreement and raised voice as EA.

It is now no longer to possible for a couple to just have a row, or for the man (usually) to just behave unreasonably or like a bit of a git.

Everything is abuse. Everything is abusive. Everything that happens in a relationship that the woman doesn't like or isn't getting her own way over is 'emotional abuse' now.

The term is over-used and therefore completely devalued.

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