WARNING SIGNS OF ABUSE
You may suspect abuse is happening to a neighbour, friend or family member, but do not know what to do or how to talk about it. You may worry about making the situation worse, or be concerned about what to do. By understanding the warning signs and risk factors of woman abuse, you can help.
If you recognize some of these warning signs, it may be time to take action.
He puts her down.
He does all the talking and dominates the conversation
He checks up on her all the time, even at work
He tries to suggest he is the victim and acts depressed
He tries to keep her away from you
He acts as if he owns her
He lies to make himself look good or exaggerates his good qualities
He acts like he is superior and of more value than others in his home
She may be apologetic and make excuses for his behaviour or becomes aggressive and angry
She is nervous about talking when he’s there
She seems to be sick more often and misses work
She tries to cover her bruises
She makes excuses at the last minute about why she can’t meet you or she tries to avoid you on the street
She seems sad, lonely, withdrawn and is afraid
She uses more drugs or alcohol to cope
While abuse most often occurs within an intimate heterosexual relationship, it also
occurs within same sex relationships or two-spirited relationships.
The suggestions in this page can apply to all.
SIGNS OF HIGH RISK
The danger may be greater if….
He is a victim of Residential School abuses or other historical trauma and has not received help
He has access to her and her children
He has access to weapons
He has a history of abuse with her or others
He has threatened to harm or kill her if she leaves him “if I can’t have you, no one will”
He threatens to harm her children, other family members, her pets or her property
He has hit her, choked her
He is going through major life changes (e.g. job, separation, depression).
He is convinced she is seeing someone else
He blames her for ruining his life
He doesn’t seek support
He watches her actions, listens to her telephone conversations, reads her emails and follows her
He has trouble keeping a job
He takes drugs or drinks everyday
He has no respect for the law
She is a victim of Residential School abuses or other historical trauma and has not received help
She has just separated or is planning to leave
She fears for her life and for her children’s safety or she is in denial and cannot see the risk
She is in a custody battle, or has children from a previous relationship
She is involved in another relationship
She has unexplained injuries
She has no access to a phone
She faces other obstacles (e.g. she does not speak English, lives in a remote area).
She has no friends or family, or none close by
How to Talk to Men Who are Abusive
Sometimes people around an abusive man overlook his behaviour and only focus on supporting the abused woman. At other times, people may sympathize with the abusive man, which may inadvertently escalate his abuse. Talking to an abusive man is an important part of preventing woman abuse, but it needs to be done carefully. Abusive behaviour won’t go away on its own. There are services to help him in his community.
Here is what you can do when you recognize the warning signs of abuse:
• Choose the right time and place to have a full discussion
• Approach him when he is calm
• Be direct and clear about what you have seen
• Tell him that his behaviour is his responsibility. Avoid making judgemental comments about him as a person. Don’t validate his attempt to blame others for his behaviour
• Don’t try to force him to change or to seek help
• Tell him that you are concerned for the safety of his partner and children
• Never argue with him about his abusive actions. Recognize that confrontational, argumentative approaches may make the situation worse and put her at higher risk
• Call the police if the woman’s safety is in jeopardy
If he denies the abuse.
• Men who are abusive will often minimize the impact and deny that they have done anything wrong. They may state that it isn’t that bad or blame the victim for their actions. This type of behaviour deflects his own responsibility for his actions
• Keep your conversation focused on your concerns for his family’s safety and well-being and reiterate that abuse is never an answer
• Keep the lines of communication open and look for opportunities to help him find support.
Always keep yourself safe. Don’t get in the middle of an assault. Call the police in an emergency.
Call the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 1-866-863-0511 or 1-866-863-7868 TTY
For further information, visit www.kanawayhitowin.on.ca