Domestic abuse can be defined as a pattern of incidents of coercive, controlling, degrading, threatening, and violent behaviour, that includes sexual violence.
Below are some signs to look out for that indicate that a person is being physically abused:
• Blackened or swollen eyes.
• Busted lips.
• Sprained wrists.
• Bruises on the limbs.
There are signs of domestic abuse, for instance physical marks, that are easy to identify, however, there are other signals that people can sometimes easily overlook or explain away.
Domestic abuse creates a sense of hopelessness or despair. It causes people to believe that they will never escape their abuser. Note however, that you are not alone, and there is help available all around you.
Domestic abuse affects every victim differently, but nonetheless, it consistently impacts everyone both psychologically and physically. The majority of victims that experience such abuse often enough try to cover up what is happening to them for a variety of reasons.
The hand gesture is a sign for help, which involves putting your palm up, tucking your thumb in, and closing your fingers. Furthermore, this could also be used when going out to shop, answering the door, and any day-to-day activity.
If you know a person that is experiencing domestic abuse, and is too afraid to stand up for themselves, or you yourself are experiencing such abuse, speak to a friend, a colleague, a family member, use the hand gesture, or else call on 179, which is Malta’s support line.
Written by: Michaela Vassallo