Esther Francis Joseph believes that almost everyone knows someone who is being physically abused at home – they just don’t know it.
“Victims of abuse are very good at hiding it,” said Joseph, a survivor of child abuse and author of Memories of Hell, Visions of Heaven—A Story of Survival Transformation and Hope (www.estherfrancisjoseph.com).
Joseph thinks it is critically important to know what to do if you suspect someone you care about or work with is being abused at home by their spouse.
Warning signs of abuse include:
Bruises – These are the most obvious signs of abuse, but victims will usually hide them. They may use makeup to hide any facial cuts or bruises. Be mindful of those tactics if you think abuse is taking place.
Clothing – Take notice of a change in clothing style or unusual fashion choices that would allow marks or bruises to be easily hidden. For instance, someone who wears long sleeves even in the dog days of summer may be trying to hide the telltale signs of abuse.
Jealousy – Sometimes, victims will vent about other issues in their relationships, but stop short of talking about abuse. In their minds, it is the only way they can reach out for help without disobeying the commands of the abuser and not to reveal the abuse. Frequent talk about their partner’s temper or jealousy might be the main tip-off.
Constant Phone Calls – Many abusers are very controlling and suspicious, so they will call their victims multiple times each day to “check in.” This is a subtle way of manipulating their victims, to make them fearful of uttering a stray word that might alert someone that something is wrong. Many abusers are also jealous, and suspect their partner is cheating on them, and the constant calls are a way of making sure they aren’t with anyone they aren’t supposed to be around.
Missing Work – Victims of abuse miss work more often than most, because some cuts and bruises can’t be hidden. So, they stay home from work to prevent alerting people to their abuse.
Always Together – If you have a co-worker that you never see outside the office without their partner, that could also be a sign of your co-worker being controlled by a jealous and potentially violent partner. By itself, this behavior may not be as revealing, but together with other warning signs, it could be an important sign.
About The Author:
Esther Francis Joseph was born and raised on the tiny Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. She moved to the U.S. at the age of 16 with her mother and two older bothers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from New York University. Her goal is to help others still in the grips of abuse and violence to break the cycle and find a way to a place of healing.