October is National Domestic and Abuse Awareness Month, however this is a topic to be address all year long – Every. Single. Day.
Every minute a child, a woman, a man is affected by this horrible circumstance at the hand of another. This is part 2 in my series. Remember that men, women and children can all victims. Be aware of what others may be trying to tell you with words or actions as a cry for help.
To begin, continuing with information from the Multi Faith Leaders Conference, it is important to understand HOW a person gains control or exercises dominion over another. This chart helps explain how this is possible and the ways it can be done slowly over time also. The language here is for a woman being abused, but remember that men are also and it is never ok, nor acceptable, in any form or manner.
Recognizing Power & Control vs. Equality Domestic Violence Wheels
Created by Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Duluth, MN
When Violence IS Used
This is how a healthy NON VIOLENT Relationship SHOULD Work
If you suspect abuse who do you report to:
- Any Law Enforcement Agency
- Any Peace Officer
- Nearest Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) office
What do you report?:
- Victim’s name
- Victim’s age/date of birth (if known)
- Victim’s current location
- Victim’s home address (if known)
***It is very important to look after those who are vulnerable and cannot speak for them self; such as the very young, the elderly, etc. It is wise to use judgement when reporting an incident to have the facts and information so that the victim is not victimized more in the legal system or by the one(s) who are harming her in the first place. Some accusations or allegations generate cases that involve law enforcement, more than quickly than others might. These underlined types most often involve law enforcement.
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse/ Lewdness
- Child Endangerment
- Domestic Violence Related Child Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- All Types of Neglect: Physical, Environmental, Medical, and Dental.
What can you look for if you suspect someone is being abused?
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises or welts in the shape of an object (belt, stick, hand, etc.)
- Bite marks
- Anti-social behaviors
- Won’t interact with others
- Seems withdrawn
- Problems in school
- Displays fear of adults
- Hyper-vigilance, shows characteristics of ADD/ADHD
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Inappropriate interest or knowledge of sexual acts.
- Nightmares or Bedwetting
- Drastic changes in appetite
- Over-compliance (goes overboard in trying to please) or excessive aggression
- Fear of a particular person or family member
- Suddenly refuses to participate in physical activities
- Becomes pregnant or contracts an STD (particularly under age 14)
- Runs away
- Seductive behaviors
Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Apathetic or passive behaviors
- Hostility or stress
- Lack of concentration
- Eating Disorders (severe weight loss or rapid weight gain)
- Age inappropriate behaviors (parents other children or is extremely immature
Signs of Neglect
- Unsuitable clothing for weather
- Dirty or other hygiene issues
- Extreme hunger
- Apparent lack of supervision
- Frequently misses school
- Begs or steals food or money
- Lacks needed medical or dental care
Environmental Neglect & Child Endangerment Includes
- An environment that poses a threat to the physical health or safety of a child
- Cited DUIs with children in the vehicle.
- Homes where there are lab paraphernalia, chemicals for manufacturing of illegal drugs, access to illegal drugs, distribution of illegal drugs in the presence of a child, or loaded weapons in the reach of the child.
- Giving children illegal drugs or substances, alcohol, tobacco, or non prescribed/ not recommended medications for that child.
- Involving a child in the commission of crimes, such as shoplifting.
It is so important that we are aware and looking out for those that we live by, associate with, go to school with, work with and that our kids play with. We may be the ones that can make all the difference in the life of another. There is a site, Loveisrespect that is a fabulous resource for a wide range of questions and information regarding those who are being abused and want help, those who want to help someone who they suspect/know someone is being abused, as well as those who are the abuser and want to quit. At the LOVEISRESPECT.org site, there is a Chat line. A Text line. A Call line.
In fact, an amazing amount of knowledge to help you and others all at the Loveisrespect.org site, click HERE for a direct link
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015, 2017
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net