A few signs of domestic violence that cannot be ignored are criticism by one's significant other in front of family and friends, periods of silence by one's significant other and when he/she labels a room(s) in the house as off-limits.
You know, most of the time when we hear that someone we know was charged with a serious crime, we would either say, "I didn't see any signs that he/she would have done this or that or, yes, I'm not surprised because I saw the signs in him/her." Yes, consciously or unconsciously we are always looking for signs and usually, they are there for us to see and when it comes to domestic violence, there is no difference.
Domestic violence which is also referred to as domestic abuse, battering and family violence has touched many of us and DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in one of its pamphlet, defines it as a pattern of coercive behaviours, used by a batterer to gain or maintain power and control over another person with whom the batterer is in an intimate dating or family relationship.
Criticism in front of Loved Ones
The batterer's main aim is to dominate its victim and to get this done, he/she will speak unkindly to family members and friends about their victim. They will do so under the guise of love for their victim and the desire for him/her to do better. For example, he/she may say, "he/she is such an air-head when it comes to finances but I am trying to teach him/her how to handle it." Thereby helping to set the foundation for the batterer to completely control all the monies that pass between the two of them.
The batterer will say many more things that can help to cause division between family and friends and the person he/she is in a relationship with, so as to isolate his/her victim. While at the same time he/she is working to make him/herself look like the "good," sensible and loving one.
Periods of Silence
Another sign that cannot be ignored is when he/she stops talking with their victim for days and sometimes even weeks even though they see each other every day. Sometimes a reason, logical or not, is given but sometimes a reason is not given for this action.
Nevertheless, this is usually done with the intention of punishing the other person. Some victims cope well during this "silent treatment" and in fact, they look forward to it because this is the only time they do not have to hear their torturer's abusive words. On the other hand, some victims do not respond well to this because they are worried about what other torture he/she is planning during this time.
Off Limit Rooms
Today, we hear a lot about "man caves" and this should give us a moment of pausing and thinking and most of the time we do not because "man cave" is usually said in jesting and both parties in the relationship are usually in agreement with the arrangement. However if the abuser says that a room or rooms in the house is off-limits, this is another sign that should not be ignored. This is another tactic in domination. He/she is the king/queen and the victim is the subject. The subject is told when he/she can enter the room and this is usually when the batterer wants something that only the victim can provide.
If there are other family members in the house, the room(s) is also used to cause division within the home. The batterer will allow certain family members to enter the room as a special privilege while others are not allowed to do so.
Criticism in front of loved ones, periods of silence and off-limit rooms are signs of domestic violence that cannot be ignored because of the escalation in abuse that usually follows.