After the wedding, Lily’s friends noticed some changes in her behavior. She stopped meeting them for lunch every Sunday. The phone calls and texts dropped off. When they asked Lily to go shopping with them, she never had any money. Her makeup, hair, and clothes were always perfect, and they never saw any bruises, so they assumed Lily was just a busy newlywed. They didn’t know about the subtle signs of domestic violence.
Most people think of the most obvious indications that domestic violence is occurring. Bruises, broken bones, and black eyes are sure signs that there’s a problem.
However, California law domestic violence laws define domestic abuse as:
- Physically hurting or trying to hurt someone, either intentionally or recklessly;
- Sexual assault;
- Threatening or promising to hurt someone;
- Harassing, stalking, threatening, or hitting someone;
- Disturbing the peace;
- Destroying someone else’s personal property.
Physical Domestic Violence
Physical abuse includes behavior like hitting, kicking, shoving, or pushing someone. However, the less obvious abusive actions include:
- pulling someone’s hair,
- throwing things,
- scaring someone deliberately,
- following someone;
- preventing another person from freely going and coming; and
- abuse of family pets.
Subtle Forms of Abuse
Domestic violence does not have to leave marks. In fact, domestic abuse can take the form of emotional, psychological, or verbal (spoken) behaviors.
The list of subtle signs of domestic violence is long. As reported by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the basic categories of behavior used by abusers include:
- Coercion and Threats, including threatening to leave or commit suicide.
- Intimidation, caused by the abuser’s looks, actions, and gestures.
- Emotional abuse, which may take the form of playing mind damages or constant criticism.
- Isolation, by controlling another person’s actions and limiting involvement with friends and family.
- Minimizing abuse, denying it happened or blaming the other person.
- Using children,
- Making all the decisions or treating the other person like a servant.
- Economic abuse, which may take the form of preventing another person from working or taking the money he or she earned.
If you feel you are the victim of domestic violence, you may call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Talk to an Attorney About Your Options
Divorce cases are stressful, especially when domestic violence is involved.
Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys. Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.