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Invisible Pain: How to Recognize the Signs of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence has been described as a silent epidemic. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a woman is beaten or assaulted every nine seconds in America. The Coalition has also reported that one in three women and one in four men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. It’s highly likely that you know someone who has been brutalized in this manner, whether you know it or not. Perhaps several people.

Despite these shocking statistics, victims often deny their situation and pretend that nothing is wrong. This is why we have to be keep our eyes open for known signs of domestic violence and be ready to offer support and help to victims when we spot it.

Changes in Personality or Appearance

While it’s not unusual for a relationship to change someone slightly, any extreme, unusual, or negative changes are a cause for concern. Has your friend, family member, or colleague changed the way they dress, abandoned favorite activities, or suddenly become withdrawn? Do they make excuses for not seeing you as often as they used to? All of these could be indicators that their new partner is controlling them.

Their New Partner is Extremely Jealous

High levels of jealousy are often a sign that if a relationship is not yet abusive, it soon will be. Examples of jealous behaviors include:

  • Becoming agitated when the victim talks to potential “rivals” or restricting who the victim can interact with.
  • Calling and texting the victim constantly and becoming angry if there is no immediate answer.
  • Constantly asking the victim who they are out with and where
  • Frequently suspecting or accusing the victim of cheating

They Isolate Themselves

Abusers don’t waste much time eliminating the victim’s sources of assistance and support. They will demand that the victim sever ties with friends, family members, clubs, and other forms of social support until there is no one left that’s able to see and protest any signs of abuse. If your loved one or colleague suddenly starts ditching you and being defensive about why, you may need to look closer.

They Avoid Conflict

Some victims of domestic violence extend their feelings of powerlessness to their other relationships. They will shrink away from conflict as much as possible, having found that in their intimate relationship it is easier to give the other person what they want rather than risk painful repercussions.

Bad Injuries and Worse Excuses

Abusers don’t always leave visible signs of their violent nature. Over the years, they tend to become quite adept at knowing how to beat their victim without leaving obvious marks. Sometimes, however, they will leave the other person with visible signs of injury, such as bruises, black eyes, or scrapes. If this happens, the victim will either avoid other people until the injuries heal or make weak excuses such as “I’m so clumsy.”

Let us make one thing clear. You or your friend deserve so much better. It is not love. Everyone is entitled to respect and love, not control. If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, Haas Tharrington, P.A. can help take protective measures such as seeking a Domestic Violence Protective Order and initiating actions in family court if children are in the household. We are committed to helping clients of all sexual orientations and social or cultural backgrounds escape domestic violence and live the rich lives they deserve.