3 Signs of Domestic Violence That Are Not Physical

There are countless sobering statistics that illustrate the rampant problem of domestic violence. Every nine seconds a woman is physically beaten. One in four women will experience domestic violence sometime during their life. Around half of men who commit domestic violence against their partner also abuse children.

Whereas a woman with visible bruises will get some worried glances, there are many other signs of domestic violence that are far less visible. Victims of abuse are often too afraid to come forward to friends and family, much less the authorities. For this reason, it is imperative to be aware of the signs and react promptly and accordingly. Here are three signs that can clue you in to something being wrong:

  1. Mental Health Struggles

This can be tricky, as mental illness is very common among people not experiencing domestic violence. Still, depression and anxiety in someone with no prior history of those conditions can be indicators of domestic violence. If someone is being low-key and sluggish, overly self-deprecating, and becoming disinterested in activities they used to enjoy, something may be going on in their relationship. An overall fragile emotional state, no matter the cause, is something that warrants further investigation.

  1. Sudden Change in Personality

Somebody who just isn’t acting like their normal self could also be going through domestic violence. This could manifest itself by previously confident and outgoing people becoming meek and quiet. People who used to relish sharing many details about their personal lives suddenly becoming reserved and private could be guarding against public knowledge of their domestic abuse. Any situation in which someone’s personality noticeably and dramatically changes is cause for concern.

  1. Reluctance to Be Seen in Public

A sudden reclusivity is another common sign of domestic violence that could be confused with mental illness. This can be seen in people who cancel plans last minute, decline going to parties or social events, and fail to answer text messages or phone calls. More often than not, domestic abusers attempt to isolate their target from friends and family so their control is maximized. If victims must make a public appearance, they might wear pants and long shirts to cover up any bruises.

How to Get Help

One of the first things victims of domestic violence can do is to lessen their chance of physical injury. In an emergency, doing everything possible to call 911 is paramount. If they are able, it is very helpful to gather personal documents and create an emergency plan for leaving. For more information on getting help for domestic violence, anyone can call 1-800-799-SAFE.

John M. Totten