Potential signs of domestic violence and abuse can often times go beyond physical marks or injuries.
Amy Stockwell serves as the director of the Upper Cumberland Family Justice Center. She said potential warnings can be found in the way people interact with each other.
“Changes in the relationship where the abuser – who can be a man or a woman – becomes more controlling, a lot more possessive, wants to keep tabs on you where you go everyday,” Stockwell said. “Those things are usually warning signs before there’s violence, so somebody who’s trying to control your behavior.”
Stockwell said abuse typically boils down to one partner trying to control another.
“What an abuse will do – and this is what the research has shown us – is that usually their purpose is not to beat someone up, it’s to control what you do and conform your behavior to what they want you to do,” Stockwell said. “If they don’t have to use violence, then they won’t. They’ll use emotional abuse which may cause you to behave the way that they want you to. It’s different for every victim and every abuser.”
Stockwell said people with friends, family, or colleagues suffering from abuse can spot the warning signs in their daily interactions.
“They may become more withdrawn, or they may become more secretive where before they had once been forthcoming about plans and things like that,” Stockwell said. “They may stop doing some social activities because their abuser is isolating them. Just those changes in behavior so you can talk to that person.”
Victims of domestic violence or abuse can contact the Upper Cumberland Family Justice Center for more information.