Domestic Violence Awareness: Know the Signs

A little over a week ago I posted about Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  I wanted to encourage my readers to learn about domestic violence and learn how to take action to help those suffering from it, as well as take action to end it.

Why is this so important to me?

What I didn’t mention in that post is that my mother is a domestic abuse survivor.  On and off for much of the time I lived at home I saw her endure physical and verbal abuse.  Some times were less violent than others, but when it was bad, it was really bad.

I won’t go into specifics about my mother’s situation because I don’t think that’s fair to her, but I will say that I learned from her experiences.  I knew I never wanted to be in a relationship like that.  Unfortunately, I became hyper-vigilant and that has stayed with me to this day.  Thankfully, my husband knows my background and is a pro at understanding and dealing with me.

It frustrates me, though, when I find myself falling into certain thought patterns that are a product of living in a domestic abuse situation.  You’re never the same person.

The point is, domestic violence has far-reaching effects.  Some people aren’t able to escape the cycle.  Some people follow in the path, mainly because they don’t have the support system they need and knowledge of resources available to them.

So, what can you do about it?

One of the first steps to helping bring about change is educating yourself on the warning signs of domestic abuse.  You can’t help someone if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

The Allstate Foundation and Click to Empower have provided a printable list of signs to look for when someone is being physically, emotionally, and financially abused.  Review these items and familiarize yourself with the various ways someone can be abused.

I should point out that just because someone exhibits one or two of these signs does not mean they are being abused.  What you are looking for is a pattern, something that becomes progressively worse, someone who has changed completely upon entering a relationship, etc.

Next week we’ll talk about what to do if you believe someone is being abused.  These are delicate situations, so they usually require careful planning and preparation.  Usually time is of the essence, though, so knowing what to do is imperative.