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Domestic violence can mean non-physical abuse

Far too many people, here in California and all over the country, are victims of domestic violence. Abuse from a romantic partner can take a toll on victims in many ways. A survivor, who now works with other survivors, says that the abuse she endured wasn't physical, at first, the way many of us often think of domestic violence. She warns other potential victims to take notice of non-physical abuse that may escalate to physical harm.

The first sign was isolation -- she said her husband wouldn't allow anyone over to their home, nor was anyone allowed to leave. He wouldn't permit her to have a cell phone, insisting that she use his when she wanted to make calls to extended family. Another sign was criticism -- she recalled a time he threw food on the floor that he'd asked her to prepare. He also took total control over the family's finances, and wouldn't give his wife money for household or personal expenses. It all finally escalated to a physical attack in front of her children.

Another woman, who is a co-founder of a domestic violence support group in another state, says that signs of domestic violence can be difficult to recognize. She encourages family and friends of potential victims to get involved and take note of whether there have been any changes in their loved one, such as depression or frequent bruising. She also cites other examples of non-physical abuse, such as jealousy, destruction of property belonging to the victim or even abuse perpetrated on the pets of a victim.

No one should ever have to endure any kind of abuse from a partner. Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence may want to seek the advice of a legal professional who is experienced in handling domestic violence cases, whether physical or non-physical abuse is present. Doing so may help keep California families and help them find a brighter future.

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