When people hear the word domestic violence, the first thing that comes to mind is physical abuse. But the truth is, domestic violence can be a lot of things. It can be in the form of physical, emotional, or mental abuse. Domestic violence is often done and used by people to take control or dominate another person. The ‘domestic abuser’ would often use shame, fear, guilt, and manipulation to take down a person and keep them under control.
Unfortunately, domestic violence can happen to anyone in the United States and it never discriminates. It usually occurs between parent-child relationships and intimate relationships. It can also happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, and economic level. While some may say women are the common victims of domestic violence, men can also experience the same fate.
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Warning Signs Someone Is Experiencing Domestic Violence
According to the state of California’s CA Penal Code 273.5, if you or someone is a victim of domestic abuse, they have the right to get a restraining order against their abuser, regardless of it’s their spouse, parent, or anyone close to you.
But the question now is, how can you tell if your friend or relative is currently experiencing domestic violence? Keep in mind that not everyone calls for help because they’re often locked up or forced to disconnect themselves from the outside world.
Fortunately, there are warning signs you can look up to help you identify if someone is being abused. Keep an eye out for these four warning signs, which signify that your friend or relative is currently experiencing domestic violence.
Visible Physical Injuries
The most common sign of domestic violence is physical injuries. Physical injuries may appear in the forms of busted lips, black eyes, purple or reddish marks on the neck, bruises on the legs or arms, and sprained wrists. Moreover, every time you ask them about how they got these injuries, most of their excuses are about minor accidents while doing household chores or falling from their bed during their sleep.
You also need to watch out for how the person states their excuses for injuries. If they tend to avoid eye contact or are reluctant to answer your questions, it could be a sign that they’re hesitant to ask for help. Some domestic abuse victims may have been threatened to ensure they won’t call for help.
Another sign for possible physical injuries is if they try to hide them away. You may notice them suddenly wearing long sleeves and sweaters in the middle of summer months. They may also wear heavier make-up and use sunglasses more frequently than they used to before. Pay attention to these actions and sudden behavior changes, which may signify that they’re being abused.
They Rarely Have Money With Them On Hand
Another subtle sign of someone experiencing domestic abuse is when they seem to never have any money on hand. A domestic abuser tends to restrict the victim from any financial access. If the victim makes money from work, the abuser may take control of all their salary money. It might be challenging to identify this sign as it would be a bit weird to ask your friend or relative directly about their money affairs.
However, a few ways you can notice this sign are:
- They constantly lend money from you;
- They turn down lunch or dinner invites as they couldn’t afford to buy their own meals;
- They never use their credit cards as they don’t anymore have access to them; and
- They couldn’t afford basic needs such as transportation, so they either walk their way home or hardly leave the house.
If you see any of these signs, pay closer attention to your friend and relative and see if you can also spot any physical signs of abuse.
Constant Skipping To Work, School, And Other Social Outings For No Reason
It’s normal for a person to skip work or school when they’re sick, but when they do it more frequently without stating any clear or valid reason, it may be a cause for alarm.
This sudden change of behavior can be suspicious, especially if you’ve always known the person to have perfect work or school attendance. What’s worst is when you try to reach them out on the phone, the first person who constantly answers the phone and makes excuses for them is their abuser. In that case, it might be a good idea to personally check up on your friend or relative.
Evident Drastic Personality Changes
As mentioned, domestic abuse can also be in the form of mental and verbal abuse, and sometimes, it affects even deeper than physical abuse. In that case, you may notice the person suddenly becoming more quiet, timid, and tend to isolate or avoid social interactions. This could be extremely noticeable, especially if that person used to be energetic and positive around people.
Mental and verbal abuse can also cause a person to lose their self-confidence and eventually turn into depression. So, whenever you notice a person’s sudden personality change, make sure to check on them and show them you care and are willing to help whatever the case.
If you notice one or more of these signs happening to your friend or relative, it’s crucial to take action immediately before any worst-case scenario occurs. By picking up on these signs and providing support, you can help them escape from the abuser’s hands and restart their lives.