Your friend is in a new relationship, and she is no longer herself. She no longer has that glimmer in her eyes, nor does she have her usual bright smile. You start to question what's wrong with her. Where did your friend go?
You may start to question your friendship and the future of it. She breaks off dates with you. She does not call you multiple times a day, and her texts are short and blunt.
You know something is wrong, so you ask her. Her response is, "Oh, it's nothing." But is it really nothing?
Domestic violence happens when you least expect it. It does not discriminate. Male or female, anyone can fall victim to such tragedy. How do you know when someone is going through such a thing? Are there obvious signs?
Often, there are behaviors that you would not normally pick up on. Unfortunately, most of us do not pay that much attention to others. But doing so might just save someone's life.
The following behaviors are just a few of the signs that someone you know may be suffering domestic violence.
They wear inappropriate clothes for the season.
In the summer, someone suffering domestic violence may wear heavy sweatshirts and sweatpants. Or they might wear hats that one normally wouldn't. These actions are to hide the marks and bruises that may be prominent on their bodies.
They are ashamed and think that if they cover the evidence, there won't be any questions asked.
So ask! You will be able to read the body language of your friend once you start questioning them.
They're suddenly a makeup expert.
Let's face it, not all women (or men) are makeup experts. Not everyone cares about makeup.
If your friend is not one to care for makeup and is loading it on all of a sudden, it's suspicious. Yes, there can be many logical reasons behind this. Maybe she finally knows how to do makeup and wants to show off her new skills.
Or maybe she has bruises on her eyes, cheeks and jaw but does not want you to know.
Having a conversation can tell you if you should be concerned. Give her a compliment about her makeup. If she is shy and just says "thanks," she could be hiding something.
Their personality is not the same as it was.
You can tell if your friend is different. Something has changed, but you can't pinpoint it. She seems distracted and withdrawn. Her care for everything has turned into care for nothing. She is always late for work, school and whatever else she does on a regular basis. You may have asked her many times if she is alright and she always says "yes."
You know it is a lie, but do not directly confront her. You should just offer a safe space to talk, then back off for the time being. Reminding them that you are still there goes a lot further than you think.
They're constantly on the phone.
Now I'm not talking about being on Facebook or playing games on their phone. I mean literally on the phone. You know, talking, that thing phones were originally made for.
Now, why might this be a sign? It is a sign of control.
If you are at work, and she's on the phone during every break she gets, this could be a problem. It may appear cute, but in reality, it is a red flag.
An abusive significant other cannot allow their partner to just socialize outside of work or school. By having them on the phone, the person on the other end gets to hear what is going on, limit contact with others and stay in control.
This is the one time you do not want to say anything. They will hear you, and it may make it worse.
They always make ridiculous excuses.
It's finals week at school, and your friend is nowhere to be found during your biology exam. You just talked to her yesterday. Where could she be?
You don't know it yet, but she is not coming to the exam. She has some foreign illness, or she witnessed a hero save someone, so she has to wait for the police to take her report.
These all sound a little far-fetched, right? They probably are.
Making absurd excuses is usually a good indicator that something more serious is going on.
You never want to corner someone you suspect is a victim of abuse. This may trigger them to act in a way you are not used to. When you have a window of opportunity, talk to them. But do it with caution.
Ask them questions. If they do not give you a real answer, then be blunt. Their reaction will tell you everything. They will not have to say a word for you to know.
If the abuse is present, your friend will need your love and support more than ever. If they decide they want to seek help or get away, be that rock. You would regret not helping if you read in the paper your friend was murdered at the hands of their abuser.
People cannot stand idly by when they know there is abuse. It just delays the inevitable. Talk. Get help. And show the world that bystanders still care.