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What is “Extreme Cruelty”?

What is “Abuse” or “Extreme Cruelty” for Immigration Purposes?

The following list, is not inclusive, but lists some common examples of behavior that can constitute abuse and lead to extreme cruelty:
Physical abuse:
  • Beats, slaps, pinches, pushes, grabs, pokes, prods, shoves, burns, scratches, punches, kicks, knees, pulls your hair or your clothes;
  • Forces you to have sex with him against your will, for fear that he will have you deported or will physically harm you;
  • Forces you to engage in his sexually perverse behavior even though you do not want to;
  • Infects you with HIV or other disease due to his reckless or intentional acts;
  • Makes you adhere to his strict schedule of sexual need and demands sex  constantly and punishes you if you do not cooperate;
  • Gropes, grabs or touches you in your private areas in private or in front of others, humiliating you and making you feel uncomfortable;
  • Forces you to engage in unsafe sex with him or others;
and more . . .
Psychological/Emotional Abuse:
  • Repeatedly makes fun of you and humiliates you in front of your friends and/or in public and/or in private;
  • Intimidates you (or threaten to harm your family or friends) with guns, knives, or weapons;
  • Follows you to or constantly calls you at your place of work trying to find out what you are doing;
  • Makes degrading remarks about your home country or your gender or sexuality;
  • Threatens to have you and/or your children deported or call INS if you don’t do what he says or if you tell anyone about the abuse;
  • Threatens to withdraw his green card sponsorship if you don’t do what he says or if you tell anyone about the abuse;
  • Refuses to let you visit with your friends or family members or speak to them on the phone;
  • Keeps tabs on you all day and becomes angry/obsessive about your whereabouts and who your friends are;
  • Locks you in your own house or apartment;
  • Refuses to let you use the phone to contact anyone or the police;
  • Attempts to sabotage your friendships and work relationships;
  • Attempts to destroy your reputation or causes you to lose your job;
  • Gives you false hope that he will never hit you or abuse you again;
  • Plays mind games with you, causing you to question your own judgment and sanity;
  • Holds your passport hostage if you don’t do what he wants;
  • Refuses to let you see your immigration papers and maintains absolute control;
  • Abandons you for days or weeks on end, without letting you know his whereabouts;
  • Treats you as his servant, making demeaning demands and expecting you to serve him and his family or friends;
  • Harms your pets or threatens to kill them;
  • Ignores you when you speak to him and refuses to speak to you, unless you do what he wants;
  • Destroys your property;
  • Threatens to commit suicide;
  • Ignores you for hours or days, refusing to speak to you or acknowledge that you are speaking;
  • Blames you for the abuse and his poor choices;
  • Threatens to take away your children or tries to use your children against you;
and more . . .
Financial Abuse:
  • Forces you to pay all the joint expenses and even his private expenses;
  • Forces you to work double shifts, long hours, or perform demeaning work to appease his lifestyle and demands;
  • Forces you to beg him for money, even for the emergencies and basic essentials (food, shelter, clothes);
  • Relegates to giving you an allowance;
  • Goes through your things and invades your privacy, looking for items you have purchased and humiliatingly make you account to him for even your own spent money;
  • Refuses to buy you food or clothing;
  • Steals from you;
  • Forbids you access to your joint accounts;
  • Your husband/intimate partner punishes you for purchases s/he made accusing you of lying or stealing from him/her;
and more . . .
Additional Characteristics of an Abusive Husband/Intimate Partner
Tries to control and isolate you from any supportive environment (friends, co-workers, family, support groups, counselors, social activities)
Projects his own mistakes and inadequacies on you, blaming you for his life and attempting to make you believe that the abuse is your fault, that you somehow did something wrong to deserve it.
Rationalizes the abuse to himself and blames it on factors that have nothing to do with him such as: stress, problems at work, financial difficulties, alcohol or the children but takes it out on you, hoping that you will let it continue as his outlet.
Pretends that the abuse does not exist or denies it.

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