Did you know that there is no social, ethnic, cultual, religious, or financial boundary that defines an abuse victim?
Did you know that not all abused women are ugly, uneducated, weak, shy but that most of them used to be described as smart, funny, strong, well-liked, confident, pretty, beautiful, happy?
Did you know that while there is no single trait to make one vunerable to abuse, there are some common factors?
- Growing up with an abusive or domneering parent (while a major factor it does NOT mean she has to spend her life in abusive relationships)
- Physical or emotional distance from family and friends
- Low self-esteem and/or chronic depression
- Strong desire or need to be in a relationship
- Almost blind trust of others; sees only good in people
- Shyness or timidity
- Insecurities abaout self nd abilities
- Feelings of loneliness or a fear of being alone
- Kind-heartedness, especially toward unpopular or unwanted people
- Avoidance of making own decisions
- Strong belief that the man is the "head of the household"
- Recent traumatic experience such as a death of a loved one
- Sense of perfectionism-- always wanting to be and do their best
A woman can go from the happy, cheerful, outgoing person she has always been to the scared, timid, lonely person in just a matter of a few short weeks. However it usually takes longer for friends and family to see how serious the situation is. The sooner the signs are noticed, the sooner intervention can happen. There are some common characteristics to look for.
- Suddenly changes her dress/appearance
- Avoids contact with friends or family
- Suddenly changes behavior; stops doing things she used to enjoy
- Spends all of her free time with him
- Cries a lot over insignificant things; has trouble focusing on normal tasks
- Complains abaout her abuser but gets defensive when someone else does
- Believes she is the cause of the anger/violence
- Feels guilty about the relationship
- Is stressed often with physical symptoms
- Accepts violence or anger as normal or denes that it exists
- Panics when asked to make a decision or give opinion, especially about the abuser
- Fears worse violence or death if she leaves
- Holds to the "good times" and believes that is who the abuser really is
Because you can't determine if a woman is being abused by one single test, you must look for things to tell you what is going on. Look for changes in her behavior, mannerisms, and feelings. These are good warning signs. Pay attention to how you feel. If you feel that something is wrong, it probably is.
*Taken from the book "Not Another Sarah" by Sarah E. Southerland ch. 25