by Raquel Hunter
Signs That Someone May Be the Victim of Domestic Violence
- Individual is withdrawn, isolated and goes out of his or her way to avoid contact.
- Individual does not seem to have availability to money and has to ask permission from his or her partner about any purchases he or she makes. This can even include household and baby items.
- Individual seems to always be hurt or bruised.
- Individual looks stressed and very fatigued.
- Individual is unwilling to give you his or her address or telephone number. The individual may insist on being the one that does the contacting.
- Individual may have low self-esteem, depression or appear very fearful.
- Individual may appear jumpy and have nervous ticks or mannerisms.
- Individual seems ill all the time. He or she may suffer from stomach ailments and/or headaches.
- Individual does not attend family, work or social functions.
- Individual may wear long sleeves in the summer and sunglasses indoors.
What You Can Do
- Be supportive.
- Ask if he or she is being abused. However, be gentle and be prepared to hear a denial. Once the victim feels that he or she can trust you, he or she will generally open up and communicate. This may take a period of time, so be patient.
- Do not be critical of the individual or tell him or her what you would do.
- Encourage your friend, validate his or her feelings and offer to help.
- Tell your friend that you will help him or her make a checklist to leave. Research safe places that he or she can go. If necessary, open up your home for the individual to store belongings, make telephone calls or receive mail.
- If you feel your safety would be compromised by helping your friend, find someone who can help him or her.
- Do not get angry with your friend if he or she decides not to leave or report the violence. Be supportive. You have to let the victim make his or her own decisions.
- Have your friend memorize the telephone number 1-800-799-SAFE. This is a number he or she can call in an emergency. This organization helps the victims of domestic violence find shelter and/or resources in his or her area.
Domestic Abuse Support Groups