For women or anyone who has been the victim of verbal abuse, coming forward and getting the legal help and emotional support they need can be an intimidating process. Unfortunately, they may have either gotten used to downplaying the situation or they may mistakenly blame themselves for the abuser’s actions. This is particularly true in cases involving emotional abuse, where verbal assaults have taken place but physical violence has not yet occurred. However, it is important for you to realize that behavior involving verbal threats, harassment, and intimidation are all considered a category of domestic violence by law enforcement officials, and there is help available through the New Jersey courts.
Is Verbal Abuse Happening in Your Relationship?
It is not uncommon for spouses, cohabitating couples, or family members living in the same home to get into occasional arguments in which they may criticize or say unpleasant and hurtful things to each other that they later regret. However, when these types of fights happen on a regular basis or are used as a means of threatening or intimidating you, the situation may rise to the level of domestic abuse.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline advises that verbal abuse can be just as damaging and harmful to the victim as a physical assault. This form of abuse can cause you to doubt yourself, feel anxious or depressed, and fear the person engaging in this type of behavior. It can also be a precursor to physical attacks, such as hitting, punching, kicking, or taking other actions. Verbal abuse may include any of the following:
- Constantly demeaning you, putting you down, and insulting your appearance, intelligence, or abilities;
- Threatening to withhold financial support, make trouble at your job, kick you out of your home, or take custody of your children;
- Threatening to hurt you, your loved ones, or destroy property if you leave or attempt to end the relationship;
- Making allusions to having weapons in the house or otherwise threatening to cause you physical harm.
Sadly, victims are often pressured or feel compelled to stay silent about what is going on. If you are experiencing any of the above in your relationship or with a family member, you need to speak up and seek help immediately to protect yourself.
Verbal Abuse as a Form of Domestic Violence
It is a common myth that in order to take legal action against a domestic abuser, he or she must commit an act of violence that results in tangible, physical injuries. The New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice advises that under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1990, actions that are against the law include both harassment and terroristic threats, which do not often leave bruises or any other sign that the incident occurred.
If you are a victim of verbal abuse, you may be able to take legal actions to protect yourself. These include:
- Having the abuser arrested and pressing criminal charges;
- Getting a restraining order against the abuser;
- Appearing in court to request legal rights to property and assets;
- Blocking the abuser from seeing your children or contacting other family members.
Reach Out to Our New Jersey Domestic Violence Attorney
At the Law Office Of Jordan B. Rickards, we act as a trusted legal advocate on your side in cases of domestic abuse, protecting you and holding your abuser accountable for his or her actions. To discuss how we can help in your particular situation, reach out and contact our Milltown, NJ domestic violence attorney and request a confidential, one-on-one consultation today.