Terminology

Accountability, in reference to abusive behavior, is responsibility for what one did to a survivor, and to be accountable is to do what the survivor requests to improve things as much as possible. In the bigger picture, accountability can apply to communities or groups of people, in terms of making sure that communities are responsible to a survivor as well [1]. This concept is closely related to restorative justice, an approach to conflict based on the premise that the most effective response to conflict is to repair the harm done by the wrongful act and deal with the issues that contributed to the wrongdoing, and transformative justice, an approach broadening the principles and practices of restorative justice by seeking to address an offense as a transformative relational and educational opportunity for survivors, offenders and all other members of the affected community [2].

Inter-personal abuse (also could be referred to as relationship, intimate partner or domestic abuse) occurs when one person in an intimate relationship tries to dominate and control (i.e. exert power over) the other person. The abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to physical violence and even murder. While physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of the abuse are also often severe yet frequently minimized, overlooked, excused, or denied (as is the existence of the abuse in and of itself) [3].

Inter-personal violence is inter-personal abuse that includes physical violence [3].

The following types of abuse are less obvious than physical abuse, but that doesn’t mean they’re not serious, or arguably even more harmful than other forms because they are so often overlooked.

Economic or financial abuse includes controlling access to financial resources by withholding money or resources, sabotaging efforts to get or keep a job, berating one about how they spend money, and lying about assets. Not having access to financial resources generally keeps people economically dependent on their abusers and is a major barrier to leaving the relationship [4].

Emotional or psychological abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often incorporate threats of physical violence. Emotional abuse usually worsens over time, often escalating to physical battery [3].

Sexual abuse includes any situation in which one is forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity [3].

Snitching: A colloquial term that refers to informing law enforcement agencies or implicating others as having participated in illegal activity. No Compromise refers to a snitch within the context of a radical movement as someone who knowingly and intentionally provides information to further a law enforcement investigation into the movement and/or its members [5]. Generally, what separates informants from mere witnesses who may help authorities catch and convict is that they know the people they inform upon (either they betray people who trust them or they lie for personal gain at the expense of people they know) [6].

Sources:
[1] Coleman, Timothy, et. al. Philly’s Pissed & Philly Stands Up: Collected Materials & Resources. 2008.
[2] Law Commission of Canada. From Restorative Justice to Transformative Justice: Discussion Paper. Ottawa, ON. 2000.
[3] Melinda Smith, M.A., et. al. Domestic Violence and Abuse. 2009.
[4] NDVSAC. Breaking the Silence: A Handbook. Lincoln, NE. 2003.
[5] No Compromise. “No Compromise Special: Snitch Protocol.” Issue 21. 2003.
[6] Redden, Jim. Snitch Culture. Venice, CA: Feral House. 2000.

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