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How to look for signs of domestic violence

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TWC News: How to look for signs of domestic violence
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One in four women and one in six men are affected by domestic violence at some point in their lives, and the victim is not always battered.

"The threats, the emotional, the psychological control, sexual abuse, financial control, social isolation," Maggie Fronk, Executive Director with the Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center, said.

Domestic abuse often starts slowly. The early signs may look like and feel like love.

"It can look like a sweet thing in the beginning. 'You're so beautiful,' or, 'I get so jealous when someone's talking to you because you are the most wonderful person,' but that becomes possession later. Criticizing them, trying to control the way they dress or who they associate with," Fronk said.

If you think someone is being abused, look for signs.

"The victim may not be engaging in interests they used to like. They may be dressing differently. They might become less open in their communications," Fronk said. "They might be changing who they are in a way that seems a bit more protective."

If you know someone who is being abused and you can't understand why they stay in the relationship, it's important to be patient and get support for yourself.

"The process of leaving abuse can sometimes take a while for someone to come to the realization, I need to leave. That's what agencies like helps the victim to do but we also help the secondary victims that sister, the mother, the father and who is worried about someone," Fronk said.

Many women with children stay in troubled relationships because of shame and they fear financial instability. Victims should be aware when they stay in a home where there is abuse, they are taking the risk the kids will model the abusive behavior when they get older. Help is only a confidential phone call away.

"We have legal advocates, people who understand the criminal justice system, counseling, case management to help with those concrete needs they have, housing, employment, transportation, health care," Fronk said.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact your local domestic violence and rape crisis center.

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