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Signs Of Domestic Abuse: Julie Hanks on Mormon times

It’s been reported by the US Department of Justice, that one-in-four women and one-in-13 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. That’s a staggering statistic, and members of the LDS Church are not immune.

What types of harm does domestic abuse inflict upon victims?

Psychological Impact

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Substance misuse
  • Functional symptoms
  • Exacerbation of psychotic symptoms

Economic Impact

  • The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.
  • Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence.

What are some indicators that domestic abuse may be taking place in a relationship or some signs that a partner/spouse could become abusive in the future?

Warning signs:

  • Jealousy and possessiveness
  • Isolates you from your friends and family
  • Rifles through your belongings
  • Expects you to spend all your time with him/her
  • Controlling behavior
  • Calls or texts you constantly to know where you are and what you’re doing
  • Makes all the decisions and gives you orders
  • Disregards your suggestions, feelings, and wishes
  • Blames you for all his/her problems and makes you feel his/her behavior is your fault
  • Hypersensitivity and explosive behavior
  • Bursts out in anger unpredictably
  • Makes you feel like you’re walking on eggshells
  • Makes your friends and family concerned for you and your safety

Threatening and using violence

  • Grabs, pushes, shoves, slaps, shakes, kicks, punches and chokes you
  • Pressures you for sex
  • Breaks or destroys objects, especially those you value

Signs of an unhealthy relationship

  • You feel pressure to change to meet your partner’s standards
  • You constantly have to justify what you do, where you go, and who you see.
  • You find yourself making excuses for your partner.
  • You feel isolated from friends and family.
  • You feel stifled or trapped in the relationship.

If you fear that a friend or family member is experiencing domestic abuse, what can you do for them?

  • Address the immediate needs of the victim
  • Listen compassionately and without judgment
  • Let them know that they’re not alone
  • Talk to her (or him) and help her to open up. You may have to try several times before she/he will confide in you
  • Try to be direct and start by saying something like, “I’m worried about you because …..” or “I’m concerned about your safety…”
  • Do not judge
  • Reassure that the abuse is not her fault and that you are there
  • Don’t tell to leave or criticize her for staying. Although you may want her to leave, she has to make that decision in her own time. It is important to remember that research shows an abused woman is at most risk at the point of separation and immediately after leaving an abusive partner
  • Focus on supporting her and building her self confidence
  • If she has not spoken to anyone else, encourage her to seek the help of a local domestic violence agency that understands what she is going through and offers specialist support and advice
  • Be patient. It can take time for a woman to recognize she is being abused and even longer to take be able to take safe and permanent decisions about what to do.

Recognizing the problem is an important first step. For help call 1-800-897-LINK (5465) or visit Utah Domestic Violence Council.

For counseling services in Utah visit WasatchFamilyTherapy.com

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