Animal Cruelty & Domestic Violence

Animal Cruelty and Domestic Violence
On the surface, the word “violence” may induce scenarios of human massacres in your mind. However, it runs deep within the surface exposing violence towards various subjects and in many forms. Inflicting cruelty on others is a big sign of an underlying mental disturbance. These abusers don’t limit themselves to imposing savagery on only humans. Their abuse often goes beyond humans and their barbaric brutality becomes the unfortunate fate of several innocent animals. 
Even though in most families pets are honored as family members, there are households where pets are subjected to miserable treatment. Several instances are reported where both humans as well as pets are subjected to abuse by the same predator in the household. Therefore, it becomes important to recognize “the link” here. This link connects the behavior of an abuser within a household towards other family members and their cruelty towards animals.
  • Abusers prey on those they deem to be vulnerable and weak. That’s why in most cases they assert their supremacy over –
  1. Intimate partners
  2. Animals
  3. Children
  4. Elderlies
  • Did you know that every year, approximately 1 million animals are murdered or abused in link with domestic violence?
  • 71% of those subjected to domestic violence claimed that their pets were also abused by the abuser.
Robert Ressler, developer of innumerable serial killer profiles for the FBI also backed this claim. He stated that murderers are frequently linked with animal abuse in their childhood. Ted Bundy, the renowned American serial killer is also well known for being a savage animal abuser in his youth. 
In many cases, companion animals become prone to such atrocities as they are used as a pawn. The abuser inflicts pain on the pet to inculcate the feeling of terror and dominance over other family members.
  • This creates an interconnected chain of abuse leading to – animal abuse, domestic violence on family members and child abuse. 
  • An abused pet could be a strong indicator of domestic violence prevalent within the household. 
  • With domestic violence raging during the pandemic, many children and adults may have witnessed domestic and animal abuse. Be it directly or indirectly, they may have been exposed to various forms of abuse. 
Experiences of domestic violence and animal abuse in childhood can lead to the extension of trauma and violent behaviour into adulthood.
According to PETA, aggressive criminals with a knack for violence have a higher probability of torturing animals in childhood. 
To understand the depths of the mental, emotional and physical consequences of domestic and animal violence, let’s dive deeper.
Child Abuse and Negative Impact on Children –
Violence can be a potential danger to a growing child’s mentality. Whether the child is exposed to direct or indirect abuse, it can negatively affect the child’s trauma as well as mindset. 
  • They say that children learn from their parents and sometimes the circumstances they grow up in can convey the wrong message. 
  • Directly being subjected to violence or even being a subdued bystander can instill in the child the same behaviour of their abusive parent. 
  • In this case, when they grow into adulthood, they repeat the same behaviour pattern on those around them and their family. These children are more likely to turn to violence as an answer and engage in domestic and animal abuse in future. 
  • These children are more likely to turn to violence as an answer and engage in domestic and animal abuse in future. 
  • Children can be greatly impacted by witnessing abuse. Determinants like duration, severity, frequency of these violent deeds can negatively impact the growing child. 
  • These impacts due to exposure to violence can be long term or short term.
  • Experiencing such vicious and traumatic incidents so early on in life can impact their development in 5 main areas – 
  1. Physical or biological functioning
  2. Behavioral patterns
  3. Emotional intelligence
  4. Adapting to social values and
  5. Cognitive development affecting the child’s development in –
  • processing information, 
  • perceptual skills, 
  • language processing,
  •  conceptual understanding
  • Various other features of the adult brain and 
  • Cognitive psychology
  • However, there are circumstances in which the child or an adult may interfere in the ongoing animal abuse to prevent it. They may try to intervene by either verbally pleading to the perpetrator or physically trying to protect their pets.
  • The abused animal undergoes immense torture, pain and trauma which they may succumb to or take years to recover from.
  • Victims often bear silently and stay within the household fearing what the abuser might do to the pet. 
  • Animal abuse is also a way to intimidate, scare and dominate the child. 
Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence – 
  • At times, abusers even gift their victims a pet. This is a way to gain control and manipulate the victim by using the pet.
  • Abusing a pet is a method adopted by abusers to convey their message to the human victims.
  • When a predator goes to the extent of threatening to kill or directly harming the pet, they are imposing control on their victims. Trying to harm the victim’s loved ones can coerce the victims to comply with the abuser’s demands.
  • The abuser in most cases harms the pets to relay that he will follow up on his threats. This would instill a feeling of fear within the victims of actually meeting the same fate as their pets. 
  • In an abusive household, the pet may be the only source of love the victim has.
  •  Killing or continuously torturing the pet ensures complete isolation of the victim from any source of endearment. 
  • This would also limit the victim’s contact to mainly the abuser and away from everyone else, be it a human or animal. 
  • Sometimes, a victim chooses to suffer in silence because the abusers threaten to kill or injure their pets.  
  • The victims know that the only way they can save their pets is by staying with their abuser. 
  • This is because when a victim builds up the courage to leave or actually leave, the abuser directs his frustration towards their beloved pets. 
An abuser may go to any extent to establish a firm grip on the victim’s life. Therefore, it is important to understand a person’s behavioral patterns and not dismiss the red flags. These red flags can cost you as well as your loved ones’ lives.
PETA India - (0)9820122602 
Women Helpline Numbers - 1091/181

By shristi | Updated on Tue, September 29, 2020 - 10:09:21 AM

Tags Animal Cruelty