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How To Recognize The Signs Of Domestic Violence And Sexual Abuse

The signs of domestic violence and sexual abuse don’t always announce themselves. In some cases, signs of abuse are in plain sight for everyone to see, especially domestic violence victims. However, sexual abuse often stays silent and can easily go unrecognized without looking closer and identifying the key warning signs. Emotional signs of abuse can go undetected.

There are several signs that can help co-workers, families, neighbors, and friends to identify the different elements of domestic violence and sexual abuse in children and adults. If you suspect someone is experiencing domestic violence and sexual abuse you do something to help instead of staying silent. You can provide a support system for victims. They don’t have to be left alone to suffer in silence.

Warning Signs of Domestic Violence

Many adult relationships at one or more times in their history will undergo a series of times where the arguing can become more intense than normal. Most couples find a way to come to a common understanding and compromise before things get to a point of no return. And when they do that’s when couples either divorce or end a relationship. But for some relationships, those times of trouble turn into violent, physical, and emotionally abusive relationships.

Below are some signs that may indicate that someone is a victim of domestic violence.

  • Being talked down to in public

  • Partner intimidation

  • Not being allowed to see friends and family

  • They never have money because a partner takes their money

  • They are not allowed to make decisions for themselves

  • A partner doesn’t allow the other to work

  • Partner destroys sentimental personal property

  • Bruises, scratches, and injuries that look like they are the result of trauma or struggle

  • Someone hides bruises with makeup or excess clothes

  • Always comes up with excuses for their bruises and injuries

  • Consistent string of injuries that don’t always match the excuse

Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse

Warning signs of sexual abuse can be a little more difficult to recognize, nonetheless, the signs are often there. Individuals just have to know what to look for and not be afraid to offer support and help to the person or child they feel might be sexually abused. Look for these common signs that indicate the presence of sexual abuse, especially in children.

  • Bruising, redness, and swelling isolated to the genital area (if you have permission to have such close contact)

  • Torn clothing

  • Awkward walking and painful walking for a child

  • The child backs away from personal touch and interactions

  • Depression and suicidal thoughts

  • Torn or bloody underwear

  • Emotional regressions of maturity that helps a child back way from the trauma of abuse

  • Distractions that leads to academic declines

  • Always concerned about friends and younger children’s well-being

It’s also important to remember that not all abuse comes in the form of a physical presence. Emotional abuse signs must be picked up on as well. Many people who recognize any of these warning signs of either sexual abuse or domestic violence can struggle with coming forward themselves for fear that they can be wrong. It’s a delicate issue that is not easily approachable for anyone involved. If you are wrong someone may be offended that you even thought this in the first place. That’s why it’s important to look for multiple signs that help tell a story of greater detail. This increases the chances that you cannot be wrong.

In any case, however, staying silent is more damaging than intervening and coming forward. If you are wrong, the individual may be thankful for the fact that you’re looking out for them. They now know that if they ever get into a situation where they are the victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse, this may increase the chances of them coming forward because they know they have a support system waiting for them in the aftermath.

Many times victims stay silent because they fear the repercussions of coming forward and having no one there to help them. Some are too emotionally troubled by the abuse to even accept it or come forward about it. However, if abuse is suspected the victim also needs support coming forward.


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Competent attorneys at Powers Law, P.C. provide strong representation for criminal cases, family law, commercial litigation and real estate cases.