Tag Archives: Emotional Abuse

Do you know what an Emotional Manipulator looks like?

Power & Control (man & woman on couch)

How often have you heard words like “that person is a Narcisssist” or “he/she has a Borderline Personality” or “she’s Anti-Social”? Do you realise that these are not just words that can easily be attached to people? These are real mental health conditions and unless you have a qualification is Psychology or a mental health discipline, you are not qualified to use these labels without merit.

People with Personality Disorders are not evil. They have a mental illness. They are not just wilfully behaving badly, they are behaving the way their brain is telling them to behave.

According to the DSM-V diagnostic criteria “Personality disorders are a class of mental disorders characterised by enduring maladaptive patterns of behaviour, cognition and inner experience, exhibited across many contexts and deviating markedly from those accepted by the individual’s culture. These patterns develop early, are inflexible, and are associated with significant distress or disability.”

If you do a search for these disorders on the website for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) you will find it says “will add description later” because these disorders are so difficult to define.

The question you need to ask yourself is: how do you know if the person you are dating or divorcing has a Personality Disorder or if they are really just behaving badly?

The answer is – it doesn’t matter.

If someone is hurting you physically or manipulating you emotionally, you must stop allowing them to do so. The reason for their behaviour is irrelevant. We need to realise and understand that people can be dangerous even if they are not “evil”. No matter how much empathy you have for the other person’s struggles, you do not deserve to be mistreated or abused.

Power and Control (Groom & Bride)

Looking back on your relationship with an emotional manipulator, if you think about the behaviour they displayed at the beginning of your relationship you will see the following red flags were present:

1. An intense, sometimes urgent, courting period
2. Pressure to commit to an exclusive relationship before you knew each other well or felt totally comfortable doing so
3. Tendencies to being jealous, explained away with overflowing compliments about how desirable you are, or statements about how “you just don’t get how guys/girls are”
4. Subtle put-downs, often disguised as friendly advice or constructive criticism
5. Dismissive responses to your feelings and your accomplishments
6. Qualified apologies for bad behaviour
7. Your gut tells you something is wrong – never ignore your gut feeling

Always remember that just because you thought you liked someone, agreed to going on a date with them, paid for a few of their meals, had sex with them, told them you love them or anything else, you are never under any obligation to continue a relationship with someone who makes you feel bad or uncomfortable in any way.

No one knows you better than yourself, and if someone is trying to tell you that you are wrong about how you think you feel – RUN!!!! Don’t walk to the nearest exit. RUN!!!!!


To maintain or not to maintain, that is the question . . .

White Unicorn Animation

Do you live in South Africa? Are you planning or are you in the process of a divorce? Do you know what our law says about maintenance?

Do you know that you can apply for an Interim Maintenance Order while you are waiting for your divorce to be finalized to help with your expenses?

• Encompasses accommodation, food, clothes, medical and dental expenses and other necessities of life on a scale that is in line with the social position, lifestyle and financial resources of the parties. The scope of maintenance is always determined according to the standard of living of the parties concerned. In other words, you should be able to maintain the lifestyle you were accustomed to while you were married – you should not be worse off or better off.
• A child is entitled to reasonable maintenance to provide for his/her needs as in first bullet point above as well as in education and training and, where applicable, even recreation (sports, hobbies etc).
• In the assessment of maintenance for children their needs and the parent’s ability to pay are the primary factors to be considered, but the most important factor is always in the best interests of the child.
• Payments cannot be made directly to the child – it has to be done via the parent who has custody of the child.
• A father who has re-married must adjust his own standard of living rather than allow his children to be prejudiced i.e. he cannot get married again to “spite” his ex-wife or children.
• The Divorce Act provides for maintenance orders as well as to the division of the assets of a marriage. The court will decide how long the Maintenance Order will be in force – for a set period of time or until the death or re-marriage of the party who is to receive the maintenance.
• The means of support includes property that could be used to produce income.
• Duration of the marriage – if the marriage was of short duration, it should not be difficult for both spouses to pick up the threads of their previous lifestyles and means of support. However, if they have been married for a long time, it may be extremely difficult for the wife to become self-supporting because of her age, possible lack of job skills and experience

Before accepting your final Maintenance Order, please ensure provision is made for future earnings on your side. Think about the risk of losing your job (at your age) and the risk involved in getting another job and the risk of getting another job that will pay enough money for you to support your children.

In other words, if you are already struggling on your existing salary. What happens if you lose your job tomorrow? Do you have the necessary skills to get another better paying job? What is the risk of you getting another job at the same salary you are earning now? What is the risk of you never finding employment again due to your age? Your Lawyer must make allowances for all this BEFORE YOU SIGN THE FINAL MAINTENANCE ORDER.

You said he can keep his pension and you can keep yours – don’t be too hasty to say this. Think about your retirement years. How are you going to survive on your pension alone until you die?


• In terms of the Maintenance Act, an order for a lump sum payment of maintenance is possible.

• Rule 43 of the High Court rules provides an inexpensive and speedy remedy where the following are sought:
– Maintenance (pending the Divorce suite) i.e while the Divorce is pending
– A contribution towards costs of a pending matrimonial action

This will require the Applicant to deliver a Sworn Affidavit setting out what is claimed and the grounds for the claim (in your case, you don’t earn enough to cover all the expenses on your existing salary). Use the same form you used to apply for Maintenance to guide you as to how this Affidavit must be structured to strengthen your case.

Grounds for payment – must be based on fact. You cannot thumb suck. Provide copies of receipts/invoices etc if you have them to solidify your case. The objective of these proceedings is to be as inexpensive and as speedy as possible so provide as much information up front as possible so you don’t waste the Court’s time.

The Court will broadly speaking apply the principles relating to the NEED of the parties or of the child (children) concerned, means of the parties and their obligations to support the children or each other. The emphasis falls on a just and speedy decision.

• An Applicant is entitled to reasonable Interim Maintenance but not to luxuries.
• The fees which the Advocate and Attorney may charge are limited by the court rule. Where there is an existing Maintenance Order made by the Maintenance Court an application for Interim Maintenance cannot be brought to the High Court under rule 43.
• Interim Maintenance Orders in the Maintenance Court – A Maintenance Court can grant an Interim Order for maintenance pending a divorce and it can also replace or discharge an Interim Order it has made, or replace or discharge a High Court Order for Interim Maintenance.

Maintenance for children over 18
In terms of our law, a child becomes an adult these days at the age of 18. A lot of people believe that in fact that is when an obligation for maintenance ends.

The Maintenance Act itself does not comment on the duration of this responsibility to support a child and in the circumstances, the answer is found in our common law which provides that a parent has a duty to support the child, until the child becomes self-supporting. This was also confirmed in the 1999 case of Bursey v Bursey & Another in the Appellate Division. A child cannot be self-supporting, if for example, the child is still studying or if for example, the child is handicapped and cannot look after him/herself.
In terms of the new Children’s Act, maintenance is payable until the age of 18 years. Before the new Children’s Act came into effect, maintenance was payable by the parent in respect of the minor child until the minor child was 21 years of age or self-supporting, whichever event should occur first.
Section 305 (4) of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 provides that “A person who is legally liable to maintain a child is guilty of an offence if that person, while able to do so, fails to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, lodging and medical assistance”. Section 305 (6) provides that a person can be sentenced to imprisonment of 10 years and provides “a person convicted of an offence in terms of subsection (1), (2), (3), (4) or (5) is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years, or to both a fine and such imprisonment”.

Are you a survivor of domestic violence or gender based violence?


If you are a survivor of domestic violence or gender based violence, we would appreciate you answering the following three questions, please.

The information will be used to prepare a presentation for a Women’s Day afternoon tea for a church group and under no circumstances will your name be mentioned.

Reflecting on your situation you have survived, how would you answer these questions?

1) As a survivor of domestic violence/gender based violence, what are you thankful for?

2) What support would you have liked from your community while you were going through your situation?

3) How important would support from your church have been and what would you have liked your Rector/Pastor to do for you to help you?

Thank you for your willingness to assist us with this information

I Got Flowers Today . . .

Flowers Dazzling Animation

I Got Flowers Today

I got flowers today.
It wasn’t my birthday or any other special day.
We had our first argument last night,
And he said a lot of cruel things that really hurt me.
I know he is sorry and didn’t mean the things he said.
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today.
It wasn’t our anniversary any other special day.
Last night, he threw me into a wall
and started to choke me.
It seemed like a nightmare.
I couldn’t believe it was real.
I woke up this morning sore and bruised all over.
I know he must be sorry.
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today,
and it wasn’t Mother’s Day or any other special day.
Last night, he beat me up again.
And it was much worse than all the other times.
If I leave him, what will I do?
How will I take care of my kids?
What about money?
I’m afraid of him and scared to leave.
But I know he must be sorry.
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today.
Today was a very special day.
It was the day of my funeral.
Last night, he finally killed me.
He beat me to death.
If only I had gathered enough courage and strength to leave him,
I would not have gotten flowers…today.

By Paulette Kelly
© Copyright 1992 Paulette Kelly
All Rights Reserved

Domestic Violence – Enough!


How does domestic violence affect the woman?

How does domestic violence affect children?

Have you watched the movie called “Enough”?

Do yourself a favour and watch this movie – it will change your life.

Have you heard about Beth?


Have you ever considered the effects of abuse on a child? Have you ever thought about what it’s like for them?

To see the effects of abuse on a child, you need to watch this.

This is only part one. Please go on to YouTube to get the rest of the interview.

Do yourself a favour and get the DVD called Child of Rage and see exactly what this child had to endure to understand this interview.

Not for the faint hearted!

Do you know that we also have a Facebook page? Why don’t you “like” our Facebook page and chat to us sometime?

You can find us at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/womendemanddignity/

Gender and Crime

Red Book with Pen

The questions I have been asking are:

1) Are more crimes committed by men than women? If so, why?
2) Are crimes committed by men more violent than those committed by women? Is violent crime gendered? If so, why?
3) How does gender affect specific types of criminality (eg rape, domestic violence, theft)?

Is it just my perception or have females always committed less crime than men? Do gender roles impact on the difference in crime rates between males and females?

Can certain characteristics like aggressiveness, physical strength and competitiveness be closely aligned with masculinity and criminal behaviour?

A few responses to my questions from various sources raised the following issues:

• Traditional female roles have been closely linked to submissiveness, weakness and passivity. This can be seen as contradictory to male behaviour and can also be seen as being incompatible with the qualities required for criminal behaviour, which makes it more difficult for women to gain access to criminal behaviour.

• What about other factors such as opportunity to commit crime, social controls and differential associations – can this be used to explain why females commit less crime than men?

• Do boys have more opportunities than men because they are allowed more autonomy and freedom to make choices for themselves which increases their preference for risk i.e. they are subjected to more informal social control growing up and because women are rejected access to the public sphere more than males?

• What about the fact that girls experience more social control from the family than boys do, and have stronger familial bonds. These familial bonds create stronger informal social controls which decreases the risk to commit crime. Girls are kept busy inside the home ie. They have to help with housework, cooking and taking care of siblings, which leaves them with less time in the day to even think of committing crime.

So, do boys/men commit more crime purely because they have more time available to them and don’t have as many social controls placed on them?

Do men commit crime as a means of constructing their masculinity to express to others and to themselves?
What about women in prostitution – are they there because they choose to be there or because they are compelled by circumstances?

How can we explain why females engage in crime?

• Females have always committed less crime than men – research has shown that gender roles have some impact on the disparity in crime rates between males and females.

• The gender gap is greatest for serious crime and at least for other petty forms of crime

• Several types of crime may lead to females committing crime under the proper circumstances

• Female crime is usually explained in terms of oppression

Gender differences and criminal thinking
Research done to date on gender and criminal thinking errors indicates that there are differences between men and women. As this is a very recent area of research, results are still emerging. This is what we know so far:

1. Risky interpersonal relationships are often connected with criminal behaviour for women. Social relationships shape women’s thinking patterns and influence their behaviour (Havens, et al 2009)

2. Incarcerated women may develop distorted thinking about behaviour that puts them at increased risk for entering risky relationships (Havens, et al 2009)

3. Women tend to have more psychological distress, depression and anxiety when compared with men, as well as self-reported lower self-esteem and lower confidence in decision-making (Staton-Tindall, et al 2007)

4. Co-occuring disorders such as substance abuse and mental health issues are also common for women in the criminal justice system ((Staton-Tindall et al 2007)

5. Females have been shown to score higher than males on problem avoidance on the PICTS (Critical Thinking Test) (Staton-Tindall, et al 2007)

6. Males have been shown to score more highly for cold heartedness than females (Staton-Tindall, et al 2007)
Source: NICRO Participant Manual 2013©: Criminal Behaviour Foundations: Understanding Criminal Thinking

What do you think about all this information? Do share your views/comments. I look forward to hearing what you have to say regarding these questions.

Re-thinking gender and crime

Questions (Blackboard)

Are our notions of gender, race and class influenced by how society defines crime and how offenders commit crimes and are treated for their actions?

What do you think?

Looking forward to your responses to this question.

The Cycle of Violence

Violence Wheel

 Any type of abuse occurs (physical/sexual/emotional)

Tension Building Abuser starts to get angry
 Abuse may begin
 There is a breakdown of communication
 Victim feels the need to keep the abuser calm
 Tension becomes too much
 Victim feels like they are ‘walking on egg shells’

 Abuser may apologize for abuse
 Abuser may promise it will never happen again
 Abuser may blame the victim for causing the abuse
 Abuser may deny abuse took place or say it was not as bad as the victim claims
 Abuser acts like the abuse never happened
 Physical abuse may not be taking place
 Promises made during ‘making-up’ may be met
 Victim may hope that the abuse is over
 Abuser may give gifts to victim

The cycle can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. Each stage lasts a different amount of time in a relationship. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete.

It is important to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit the cycle. Often, as time goes on, the ‘making-up’ and ‘calm’ stages disappear.

Adapted from the original concept of: Walker, Lenore. The Battered Woman. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.

What Can I Do To Be Safe?

Call the police

If you feel you are in danger from your abuser at any time, you can call 10111 or your local police.

Consider the following:
 If you are in danger when the police come, they can protect you.
 They can help you and your children leave your home safely.
 They can arrest your abuser when they have enough proof that you have been abused.
 They can arrest your abuser if a personal Protection Order has been violated.
 When the police come, tell them everything the abuser did that made you call.
 If you have been hit, tell the police where. Tell them how many times it happened. Show them any marks left on your body.

Marks may take time to show up. If you see a mark after the police leave, call the police to take pictures of the marks. They may be used in court. While waiting for the police, get someone to take pictures of your bruises for you. Use your cell phone if necessary.
 If your abuser has broken any property, show the police.
 The police can give you information on domestic violence programs and shelters.
 The police must make a report saying what happened to you. Police reports can be used in court if your abuser is charged with a crime.
 Get the officers’ names, badge numbers, and the report number in case you need a copy of the report.
 A police report can be used to help you get a Protection Order.

Get support from friends and family
Tell your supportive family, friends and co-workers what has happened.

Find a safe place
It is not fair. You should not have to leave your home because of what your abuser has done. But sometimes it is the only way you will be safe. There are shelters that can help you move to a different city or state. HAVEN can put you in touch with them.

Get medical help
If you have been hurt, go to the hospital or your doctor. Domestic violence advocates (Social Workers) may be called to the hospital.

They are there to give you support. You may ask medical staff to call one for you.

Medical records can be important in court cases. They can also help you get a Protection Order. Give all the information about your injuries and who hurt you that you feel safe to give.

Special medical concerns
 Sometimes you may not even know you are hurt.
 What seems like a small injury could be a big one.
 If you are pregnant and you were hit in your stomach, tell the doctor. Many abusers hurt unborn children.
 Domestic violence victims can be in danger of closed head injuries. This is because their abusers often hit them in the head.

If any of these things happen after a hit to the head, get medical care right away.
* Memory loss
* Dizziness
* Problems with eyesight
* Throwing-up
* Headache that will not go away

Get a personal protection order

Make a safety plan
Plan what to do before or when you feel unsafe. We can provide you with a template which you can use to compile your own Safety Plan. E-mail us and request a copy at womendemanddignity5@gmail.com.
Source: http://www.domesticviolence.org

Rape statistics in South Africa – what do you think?

Crying Baby Animation

What do you think of the rape statistics in South Africa?

Can you believe that the latest statistics available in South Africa was compiled in the year 2000?

Rape Stats in SA by Stats SA 2000

Isn’t it just a crying shame?