“There’s No Mark” – Does this mean it isn’t abuse?
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. When you think of abuse you probably think of bruises and other physical marks. But what if you can't see anything?
Abuse isn't defines by physical trauma. The damage isn't the defining characteristic of abuse. As we know there's emotional abuse as well as physical abuse such as hitting, pulling, pushing, bending, which may not leave evidence. This means that the aggressive acts don't have to mark the body. Just because it doesn't mark doesn't mean it isn't abuse.
A clear sign that an abuser recognizes what they're doing is wrong is if they say something like, "there isn't a mark." Looking for a mark implies that the person knows what they did was wrong or they used too much force. Why else look for a mark?
To minimize their aggressive acts, some abusers may say, "There isn't a mark." In my opinion, abusers say this as a way to play a mind game with their victim. If there isn't a mark then it can't be abuse and it can't be that bad. Their mentality is if it were abuse then there'd be welts, scratches, cuts, bleeding, swelling.
Ways To Help A Domestic Violence Victim
This morning we’re talking about domestic violence awareness. When you know someone is being abused, it is natural to want to tell them to get out of the abusive relationship. It can be good advice, but it's also easier said than done.
Fear stops victims from leaving abusive relationships. Many unanswered questions swirl in their minds. How will the abuser react? Where will they go? How long will they be able to stay a new location? How will they survive financially? What about their kids, if they have any? Health care? Transportation?
If someone you know discloses that they've been abused, remain calm. The most important thing you can do is listen to them. See the situation from their perspective. When you understand their perspective you'll be better able to help them because you understand their concerns.
A natural reaction is to want to help. If you’re not careful then your help can come across as too pushy or insistent, which can scare off the victim. Ask questions to get answers. Ask them: What do you want to do? How can you make that happen? What would get in the way of you doing that? And be sure to have solutions and resources at the ready. Telling someone to get out of a relationship when they don’t have a place to go or any money isn’t helpful.
Blanca Cobb is a WFMY News 2 Contributing Editor, body language expert and keynote speaker/trainer who covers nonverbal communication, psychology and behavior. Follow her @blancacobb. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively hers.
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