Domestic violence isn’t always visible.
There may be no outward signs of abuse, no visits to the ER—but violence can still be occurring. It’s important for victims of domestic violence to understand that just because someone doesn’t leave a bruise, it doesn’t mean abuse didn’t occur.
According to studies of crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in the United States, there are five different types of domestic violence. Their common denominator: all types of abuse are used to assert control and power over their victim.
Physical abuse. This is the use of physical force against another person to inflict injury, or to put the person at risk of becoming injured. This may include your partner pushing, hitting, choking you, or threatening you with a weapon.
Sexual abuse. This abuse often occurs in tandem with physical abuse. It involves forcing or coercing a victim to do something sexually, which can range from unwanted kissing or touching to rape. This can also involve threatening someone to perform a sexual act, including oral sex; restricting a victim’s access to birth control and condoms; or repeatedly using sexual insults to demean a victim.
Emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is almost like brain washing in that it is done to wear away at a victim’s self-confidence. It can be verbal abuse; such as your partner repeatedly criticizing, intimidating or belittling you. It can also be nonverbal abuse or coercive control; when your partner asserts control and tries to demean you by making decisions on your behalf. This can include anything from what you should wear to who your friends should be.
Financial abuse. This type of abuse involves stealing or withholding money from the victim, or using the victim’s name and personal information to accrue debt. The victim may feel financially dependent on their partner, or as though they are being forced to support their partner financially.
Spiritual abuse. Also referred to as religious abuse, this involves a partner not allowing you to practice your moral or religious beliefs. It can include humiliation or harassment as a means of control, forcing a victim up their culture or values that are important to them. Spiritual abuse can be used by religious leaders to instill fear or guilt into a victim, coercing them to behave a certain way.
If you recognize any of these types of abuse, you should seek help from a domestic violence counselor, hotline or shelter immediately.
PEACE RIVER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CENTER
Domestic Violence Shelter Service
Lakeland 24-hour crisis line: (863) 413-2700
Sebring; Hardee & Highlands counties 24-hour crisis line: (863) 386-1167
* Collect calls are accepted.
Peace River Violence Shelter Service provides a free and confidential assessment, shelter and related services to domestic violence survivors and their dependents including crisis intervention, problem solving skills, self-help groups, safety planning, information and referrals, and outreach services including external support group.
Domestic Violence Outreach Service (863) 534-4350
The Peace River Domestic Violence Outreach Service provides safety planning, information and referral, supportive counseling, and court accompaniment for domestic violence survivors upon request.
The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Center provides crisis counseling and refers calls to the nearest domestic violence center.
Sexual Violence Hotline 1-888-956-7273
The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence is a statewide nonprofit organization committed to victims and survivors of sexual violence and the sexual assault crisis programs who serve them. We provide technical assistance to agencies seeking to improve their services for rape victims, and we provide up-to-date information to the public.
By using our toll free information line, callers can access information from our resource library or from our network of national resources. FCASV provides information, assistance and leadership on all aspects of sexual violence, including rape, child abuse, stalking and sexual harassment.
24-hour crisis line: (863) 413-2707 Toll-free: (877) 688-5077
Highlands County 24-hour crisis line: (863) 386-1169
The Peace River Center provides free and confidential crisis intervention services to sexual assault survivors and their significant others including 24-hour crisis intervention, advocacy, problem-solving, therapy (at the Rape Recovery Resources Center in Lakeland only), supportive counseling and weekly support groups. The Polk County Health Department also provides on-site forensic exams and public awareness trainings.
Sexual Abuse Treatment Program provides individual and group counseling in Winter Haven.
Through The Porch Light program, Florida Baptist Children’s Homes (FBCH) offers shelter and rehabilitation to girls who have been victims of sex trafficking.