Content warning: This article contains mentions of domestic violence, which may be difficult for some people. If you are experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Speak with someone at the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 800-799-7233 or texting “START” to 88788.
Domestic violence, a pervasive and life-altering issue, is often shrouded in secrecy. Recognizing the signs of domestic violence can be the first step toward helping someone in need. Survivors of domestic violence often benefit from trauma therapy, which can help them manage the psychological effects of domestic abuse.
What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse, or family violence, is a pattern of behavior used by one person in a relationship to control the other. It can happen to anyone, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender, and occurs among people who are married, living together, or who are dating.
Abuse isn’t always physical. It includes behaviors that physically harm, induce fear, prevent someone from doing what they wish, or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse, and economic deprivation.
Signs of Domestic Abuse
Recognizing the signs of domestic abuse is crucial. Here are some common indicators:
- Physical marks – Bruises, burns, cuts, or other unexplained injuries that frequently appear.
- Behavioral changes – The person may become quiet, withdrawn, or excessively worried; they may start to show signs of depression or anxiety.
- Fear of the partner – They might seem scared of upsetting their partner and constantly try to appease them.
- Controlled communication – Their partner may limit their interaction with others, check their phone, or control where they go and who they see.
- Financial control – The abusive partner may control all the finances, not allow the victim access to bank accounts, or set an extremely tight budget.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive. Every individual’s experience with domestic abuse can look different.
What to Do When You Notice Signs of Family Violence
If you suspect that someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, it’s essential to approach the situation with sensitivity.
- Express concern – Start by letting them know you’re concerned about their safety.
- Listen and validate – Let them share their experiences without interruption or judgment.
- Offer help – Provide information about local resources, such as shelters, counseling services, or legal aid.
- Support their decisions – It’s important to remember that they are the best judge of their own safety.
- Keep checking in – Even if they’re not ready to talk or leave the situation now, knowing you’re there for them can be a great comfort.
Remember, it’s not your role to rescue them or intervene directly unless there’s an immediate threat. In such cases, contact your local law enforcement.
Finding Trauma Therapy
Dealing with domestic violence can lead to significant mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That’s why finding the right trauma therapy is key to mental well-being.
- Seek a specialist – Look for therapists who specialize in trauma and understand the dynamics of domestic abuse.
- Consider different therapy types – Therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy can be particularly effective.
- Explore support groups – Group therapy can provide victims with a supportive community of individuals who have had similar experiences.
Recognizing the signs of domestic violence can potentially save lives. If you notice these signs in someone you know, it’s crucial to offer a safe space for them to share their experiences, provide them with resources, and guide them toward professional help when they’re ready.
Trauma Therapy at Attain Behavioral Health
At Attain Behavioral Health, we provide a range of evidence-based trauma therapy services to treat the psychological effects of domestic violence. Our team of professionals is dedicated to helping individuals heal from traumatic experiences. Get in touch online or by calling 888.442.2323 today to learn more about our comprehensive approach to trauma therapy.