“My personality and entire lifestyle changed. I had to quit my active involvement with the Chamber of Commerce, could not call on my big corporate accounts with male clients, and was accused daily of having affairs. My long-time friends did not know the hell I was living through. I was so ashamed.” – Dr. Gayle J. Hall.

Is your co-worker constantly making excuses for being late to work or missing work more frequently than normal? Is your friend unavailable to meet you for lunch dates with no apparent reason, after getting into a new relationship? Does she seem different, withdrawn, or unhappy, when she used to be a bubbly, cheerful person? All of these may be signals or signs of domestic violence.

The outward signs of physical bruising, black eyes, or broken bones are naturally, easy to spot. Have you ever noticed a woman with a black eye and point-blank asked her how she got that? If you have noticed this and not asked her, why not? A person usually does not get a black eye unless they have undergone eye surgery or been smacked in the eye with brutal force.

The tanning salon I used for six months, there was a girl at the counter who had two black eyes. I was not going to ignore what I already knew to be the truth. I knew she had been a victim of domestic violence. So I calmly said something akin to, “Wow, that must have really hurt getting those black eyes. Are you okay?” The young woman looked away from me and lied, stating that she ran into a door. Now, almost everyone knows when you run into a door your eyes are not the first thing that will hit the door. I remarked, “I am surprised you do not have bruising on your forehead, too. You were really lucky, huh?” She looked up at me then and said, “Yeah, I guess I was really lucky that time.” Her face was drawn and she was very sad. I asked if I could hug her and she told me I could. As I gave her a gentle hug, I whispered in her ear that I knew what had really happened—domestic violence. I told her there were places she could go to talk about this and get some help. I wrote my number down on the back of one of their business cards and asked her to call me if she ever wanted to.

Domestic violence causes loss of productivity in the work place more than employers understand. Many supervisors blame employees tardiness on laziness, when in fact, this may be due to violence in the home. The employees will not admit the truth for fear of being blamed or being ashamed.

One of the abusive characteristics of the batterer is to isolate his victim away from her place of employment, cutting her off from financial income and security, while removing her source of social support from friends. Additionally, by doing so, the abuser is forcing more control over his victim of domestic violence by making her rely on him for full support for food, fuel, and hygiene. He may keep her trapped inside the home and not allow her to leave the house, even to purchase groceries. In extreme cases, the batterer may limit her intake of food.
Isolation is a dominant factor in the abuser’s mind. He likes to remove his battered woman from society, her friends, and from her family. The abuser may make the victim out-of-state thousands of miles from her home, just so he can have even more power and domination over his victim.

If you have a friend or co-worker who seems to have changed her personality drastically over the past few months, inquire what is going on in her life. Most victims of domestic violence will not tell you what is wrong at first, because they have been threatened with harm by their abuser. Very often, the threat of harm has been promised against a family member, such as their children, or their parents.

The principal key to take away from reading this article is to remember that domestic violence is not always visible. One must be willing to step up and ask if help is needed, if uncertainties exist.

You could save a life by asking a simple question or showing that you care and gaining the victim’s trust. The first step is to gain the victim’s trust enough that she can feel safe enough to talk with you. Leaving an abusive partner is not an easy process. Sometimes it takes the support of several people to provide enough courage to finally leave.

Please read the previous, third article titled, “Domestic Violence: Recognizing the Three Phases –Part Three, in a Series of Six.”

Watch for and read the fifth article in this series of six on domestic violence titled, “Domestic Violence: The Downfall of Domestic Violence—Part Five, in a Series of Six.”

©Copyright – Gayle Joplin Hall, PhD. All rights reserved worldwide. None of this material may be downloaded or reproduced without written permission from the author.

Author's Bio: 

Gayle Joplin Hall, PhD, is The Happiness Life Coach™, Published Author, Keynote Speaker and Expert in Domestic Violence, Crisis Analysis, and Behavior Consultation.

Dr. Hall is President and Founder of Dr. Hall on Call™ and offers online, phone, and in-person coaching sessions. She is also a dynamic Keynote Speaker, Mentor, and Professor. Be sure to check out the detailed "Expert Page" to learn about me and then visit my website for the free gift, mentioned below.

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©Copyright – Gayle Joplin Hall, PhD. All rights reserved worldwide