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What is Considered Physical Abuse

Updated: Nov 12, 2021


What is Considered Physical Abuse

Domestic violence occurs when there is an imbalance of power and control in any type of relationship. The abuser most often begins the abuse in a subtle manner such as with emotional and psychological abuse, gradually the abuse increases and evolves into physical abuse. Domestic violence includes both physical and emotional abuse. Domestic abuse affects each victim and survivor differently, however, the effects can be found on both physical and psychological levels. Physical abuse does not discriminate and can affect anyone regardless of economic or social status, educational level, gender, or sexual preference. There are many red flags that may suggest someone is being physically abused but isn't always proof that someone is being abused. Abusers and their victims may go to great lengths to hide the abuse for a wide range of reasons, but victims can benefit from receiving help.



What is Physical Abuse


What is Physical Abuse Martial Arts for Kids

Physical abuse will not always leave visible marks or cause permanent physical damage such as in cases of choking. While the neck may be bruised, choking most often leaves no marks on the victim. Here is a list of some types of physical abuse:


  • Scratching, biting, or grabbing

  • Spitting or burning.

  • Shoving and pushing.

  • Slapping, punching, or strangling.

  • Throwing objects to hurt and/or scare you.

  • Destroying possessions such as your cell phone.

  • Hurting or threatening to hurt your children and/or pets.

  • Disrupting your sleeping patterns, making you feel exhausted.

  • Attacking or threatening to attack with a weapon.

  • Any threats or actual attempts to kill you.



Physical Signs of Domestic Abuse


Physical Signs of Domestic Abuse Martial Arts for Kids

If someone is being physically abused, they will likely have frequent bruises or physical injuries consistent with being punched, choked, or knocked down—and they'll likely have a weak or inconsistent explanation for these injuries. But not all physical abuse will lead to physical marks.


Some signs of physical abuse include:


  • Black eyes

  • Broken noses

  • Bruises on the arms

  • Busted or swollen lips

  • Marks resembling hickeys on the neck

  • Sprained fingers & wrists


If you think someone is being physically abused there are a few things about the victim that you can look out for such as if they wear clothing that covers their arms and legs even during the hot summers, wearing heavy makeup or wearing sunglasses, even indoors can all be signs that someone is a victim of physical violence.



Emotional Signs Someone is a Domestic Abuse Victim


Emotional Signs Someone is a Domestic Abuse Victim Martial Arts for Kids

Often domestic abuse starts with emotional abuse, which enables the abuser to make the victim believe they are in a helpless situation. They will often isolate their victim from their family and friends, telling others that they are mentally ill and they are the hero. A domestic violence victim who experiences this type of emotional abuse undergoes serious mental turmoil, making them feel helpless, and because the abuser isolates the victim feels that they have no one to turn to for help and are trapped under the control of the abuser. Domestic violence victims may show hypervigilance, a state of constant alertness, that prevents the victim from being able to relax leaving them in a state of stress.


Some signs of emotional abuse may include:


  • Anxiety

  • Changes in sleep habits, insomnia, or oversleeping

  • Developing a substance abuse problem

  • Extremely apologetic

  • Signs of depression such as the loss of interest in normal daily activities

  • A drop in self-esteem

  • Fearful or moody attitudes

  • Talking or researching about suicide.


While many of these symptoms align with other mental health disorders they are also conclusive with traits of someone who is being abused in their relationship.



How Abuse Affects the Behavior of Domestic Violence Victims


How Abuse Affects the Behavior of Domestic Violence Victims Martial Arts for Kids

Can you think of someone you knew who was outgoing and happy go lucky who over time became withdrawn and quiet? That person may be a victim of domestic violence.


Some other signs of domestic violence in a victims behavior may include:


  • Children & adults alike may appear timid, frightened, or extremely well behaved.

  • May sabotage relationships.

  • Become distant or reserved.

  • Begins self-isolating to avoid abuse or problem with the abuser.

  • May cut contact with friends and family members.

  • May cancel appointments or plans last minute or they may arrive late.

  • Stops participating in activities they once enjoyed.

  • May keep the relationship and their personal life to themselves.

  • May become angry and lash out at friends and family.

  • May be rude or inconsiderate to customers and fellow employees.

  • They may have to ask permission to go anywhere or to socialize with other people.

  • Constant calls and text messages in order to keep tabs on who the victim is with, where they are, what they are doing.

  • May have very little money available, or not have access to a credit/debit card, or they have to account for every penny spent.

  • Not having access to a car.

  • Referring to their partner as "jealous" or "possessive".

  • Constantly being accused of having affairs.



When a victim of domestic violence feels any level of fear, their natural human instincts will cause them to either go into a state of flight or running away from the situation. They may feel the instinctual feeling of fight which may cause them to fight back against their abuser in what is considered reactive abuse. Another way the domestic violence victim may react is to freeze, the victim to go into a state of paralysis. When a victim freezes, they will find it difficult to make decisions or to protect themselves or their children. When a victim of abuse reaches this psychological level of abuse they may even turn down help that has been offered to them from friends, family, and health care professionals.





Healing Starts Here Let Martial Arts for Kids become your lifeline. Please call us today at 818-798-4962. Or our partners 24/7 on a national hotline: Domestic violence: 1-800-799-7233 Sexual assault: 1-800-656-4673 Serving victims and raising awareness about domestic and sexual violence in Los Angeles County.

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