Domestic violence is a hidden secret in most families and relationships. Fear of retribution from the abuser, shame, and embarrassment keeps many victims from speaking out. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 12 million men and women become victims of domestic violence each year in the United States.
Domestic violence is the physical, mental, or emotional abuse inflicted upon a victim in a relationship by their partner. Domestic violence takes the form of hitting, punching, biting, slapping, raping, humiliating, ridiculing, restraining, or isolating of a person by their partner in a heterosexual or same-sex marriage, cohabitation, or sexual relationship. Victims are often threatened with more violence if they expose the abuse.
Many cases of domestic violence result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries. The emotional and mental scars inflicted upon victims can last a lifetime. Educating victims as well as family, friends, and relatives to recognize the signs of domestic violence so that it can be stopped before further tragedy occurs is very important.
Signs to Look Out For
There are specific signs that indicate domestic violence may be happening.
- Victims show fear of angering or disappointing their partner.
- Abusers are often extremely possessive and jealous.
- Victims often have bruises or injuries that they explain as simple accidents or clumsiness.
- The abused will frequently skip school or work if their injuries are obvious and will often dress in long sleeves and pants to hide their bruises or cuts.
- Victims will suddenly pull away from family relationships and stop going to celebrations or social events.
- Low self-esteem and depression are common among victims.
- Alcoholism and drug use are common among abusers and victims.
- Victims frequently defend their abuser’s actions with excuses and self-blame.
- Visits to the victim’s home by family, friends, and relatives are limited and frequently occur only when the abuser is home to monitor the interactions among the victim and their guests.
- Victims will typically deny or refuse to acknowledge the concern from family and friends.
What to Do If You Suspect Domestic Violence
If you suspect domestic violence is happening, ask questions and voice your concerns for the victim’s safety. Encourage victims to seek help and provide information on agencies offering counseling and resources. Offer safe shelter by physically removing the victim from the abusive relationship.
If the victim refuses help or denies that domestic violence has occurred, stay close and monitor the situation. Seek professional help from shelters and agencies that provide intervention resources. If you witness the abuse, call local law enforcement and report the incident immediately. Never try to intervene in a domestic violence situation yourself. Leave the interventions to the trained professionals to ensure your own safety.
Bridgewater Domestic Violence Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Victims of Domestic Abuse
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, the Bridgewater domestic violence lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can help. Call us at 908-575-9777 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our Somerville, New Jersey office serves clients throughout the surrounding areas, including Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, Bridgewater, Bedminster, Mendham, South Plainfield, and Morris Plains.