Violence, or the intentional use of force or power to hurt someone, is inflicted on more people than we might suspect. The Peace Alliance states that acts of violence cause more than 16 million global deaths in a year, with domestic violence being its most common form. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates about one in three women worldwide experiences either physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.
Domestic violence is not just physical abuse — it can be sexual, emotional, financial, and psychological. Abusers usually cause fear and use intimidation to gain power and control over a person. Domestic violence has terrible physical and psychological outcomes. It can negatively affect a person’s physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health. It also increases a person’s vulnerability to HIV and can lead victims to severe depression and suicide.
Different factors inspire violent behaviour. The more these factors are present in a person’s life, the more likely they will fall victims to violence. Learn to spot these signs among your friends or loved ones — they might need help but have no way of asking for it.
1. Physical manifestations- A person has injuries, cuts, or bruises, but is not willing to share the cause — or makes up stories to explain them.
2. Restless attitude. Victims live with fear, so they may react strangely to the simplest of triggers. A friendly tap on the back could cause a strong reaction.
3. Hasty intimacy. Many victims of violence are in relationships that became intimate very early. Their abusers show signs of neediness and controlling behaviour.
4. Meekness. Potential abusers are possessive. They call their victims constantly, make unexpected visits, and are suspicious of their partner’s friendship or involvement with others. To keep things peaceful, victims apologize and may exhibit meek behaviour.
5. Submissive tendencies. Victims of violence may tolerate abuse to the point of becoming submissive. Abusers intimidate and exhibit power over their victims.
6. Isolated behaviour. Victims usually spend time with friends until their abusers force them to live in isolation so they can have their partner all to themselves.
7. No decision-making power. Victims cannot pay for themselves because their partners control the money. They cannot make decisions on their own because they have to ask permission from their partners.
The world continues to seek solutions to discourage and completely end domestic violence. Help your friends who may be potential victims of violence — no one deserves abuse. Call York Regional Psychological Services for professional assistance. For more information, call our office at (416) 602-3230 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.