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Domestic violence: words can sometimes cut even deeper

It seems that a day doesn't go by without media reports of violence. Reports of domestic violence are on the increase, but many victims are still too fearful to speak out. Many California residents may think that abuse is a purely physical act, not realizing that it actually exists in different forms, none of which are acceptable.

Some abusers may inflict more damage on their victims with words than they do with physical violence. Controlling, manipulative behavior can mess with a person's mindset to such an extent that they no longer feel able to distinguish the truth from lies. In addition, the abuser may become so apologetic after a bout of verbal nastiness that the victim comes to believe that, somehow, he or she provoked the attack.

Becoming alienated from friends and family is common in such situations, leaving victims with little or no support. There are shelters in most cities for victims of domestic violence and their children, who may also suffer at the hands of the abuser. Finding the courage to leave one's abuser is both the hardest and the most important step one will take, and approaching such organizations for advice and support will help one greatly.

Once a California resident makes the decision to get out of a relationship based on domestic violence, finding a place of safety will be his or her first concern. If necessary and appropriate, it is possible to have a restraining order put in place. This may give one enough breathing space to consider how to move forward into a more positive future.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Dispelling 5 Myths about Domestic Violence", Angela Perkey, Feb. 1, 2016

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