Do You Know the WARNING SIGNS of ABUSE?

There’s a lot of sexual abuse going on underneath the shroud of “religion.”  It’s time we all became aware of it so we can watch out for ‘signs of abuse’ and protect women and children from this abuse. Also keep in mind that domestic abuse is a HUGE part of religious abuse, especially, in fundamentalist religious sects. It’s time we became aware of what the WARNING SIGNS of abuse are.

Recognizing the warning signs of domestic violence and other abuse

It’s impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of emotional abuse and domestic violence. If you witness any warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously.

General warning signs of domestic abuse

People who are being abused may:

  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness

Warning signs of physical violence

People who are being physically abused may:

  • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
  • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
  • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)

Warning signs of isolation

People who are being isolated by their abuser may:

  • Be restricted from seeing other family members and friends regardless of beliefs.
  • Rarely go out in public without either their partner (adult) or parent or guardian (child)
  • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car
  • Be restricted from going places (like the movies or the park) with friends, family or, other adults

The psychological warning signs of abuse

People who are being abused may:

  • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
  • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  • Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal
  • Become afraid of others, especially, of the authorities that are there to help them
  • May result to cutting themselves or hurting themselves
  • May result to drugs and alcohol

Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or abuse as a result of a religious organization

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • Ask if something is wrong
  • Express concern
  • Listen and validate
  • Offer help
  • Support his or her decisions
  • If it’s a child, contact Child Protective Services or the Police immediately

Don’t:

  • Wait for him or her to come to you
  • Judge or blame
  • Pressure him or her
  • Give advice
  • Place conditions on your support

Adapted from: NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.

Do:

Ask if something is wrong
Express concern
Listen and validate
Offer help
Support his or her decisions if an adult

Don’t:

Wait for him or her to come to you
Judge or blame
Pressure him or her
Give advice
Place conditions on your support

If an adult: Talk to the person in private and let him or her know that you’re concerned. Point out the things you’ve noticed that make you worried. Tell the person that you’re there, whenever he or she feels ready to talk. Reassure the person that you’ll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and let him or her know that you’ll help in any way you can.

If a child: Call Child Protective Services or the Police right away! Child abuse and Child Sexual Abuse is rampant in this country and we must protect our children from it. Your silence may cost a child his life in the aftermath of the abuse.

Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help to get out, yet they’ve often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.

If you can think of other warning signs to add to this list, please feel free to do so by leaving your comment.

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