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May 5, 2016

Healthy Living looks at signs of Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence is a very complex issue. It is one that numerous agencies and departments work tirelessly to address. It is a public health issue – like all other forms of violence – that we see, especially recently, contributing to our homicide rate. There’s no sadder story than when an abused person doesn’t make it out of his/her abusive relationship alive. “Crimes of Passions” as we so often hear police refer to these heinous crimes are not the first sign of a domestic violence. In fact, there are signs and symptoms that you are in a potentially dangerous situation that can be detected long before. That’s what we bring to you in tonight’s Healthy Living: early warning signs of an abusive relationship as explained by an experienced mental health professional.

 

Marleni Cuellar reporting

If you take a look at the global statistics on violence against women; you may or may not be surprised as to how common of a problem it is. WHO estimates that globally, as many as 38% of murders of women, are committed by an intimate partner. That’s one in every 3 murdered women across the world.

 

Jenny Lovell, Mental Health Therapist

Jenny Lovell

“There are so many things we can talk about when it comes to domestic violence. But I think we need to focus in on early signs and symptoms. Particularly because in this country there are lots of women who talk about “If ih no beat me; Ih no love me” and that is learned behavior.”

 

As a mental health therapist, Jenny Lovell, has worked with women on finding ways out of a domestic violence situation. She says there are warning signs in a relationship before any actual physical abuse begins.

 

Jenny Lovell

“Do you know that the number one flag or sign is that you are uncomfortable or you are feeling afraid in your relationship? That’s the number one sign that there is a problem and that this person if he’s not already a batterer may turn into a batterer somewhere down the line in the relationship. The number two sign is: is he possessive, jealous or controlling? And when I say possessive; he is jealous of even your family, your coworker and your friends. He’s demanding to see all your passwords, read your emails or texts, you come home and he searches your purse. They work at isolating your from family, from friends, and then they isolate you from work, they do not even want the person to go to work. Another thing is he’s going to be so nice in front of your friends and in front of your family, everybody thinks he is the life of the party…what a lovely husband you have but as soon as you get back to that house you see the other person. It’s like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, there behaviors are so different, nobody knows and nobody believes that this person could possibly be beating you up or treating you  the way that you are trying to tell people. The main one I tell you if a man tells you that he is going to kill himself if you leave him, or he is going to kill you, or will kill your mothers and your sisters or kill all your people; believe him and take him seriously, take that really, really seriously because I tell you eventually he will.”

 

What about relatives? The wider community? Can we help? According to Jenny, we must. While we must not put ourselves in harms way we can ask the difficult questions and encourage the victim to get help.

 

Jenny Lovell

“Pay attention to those things if you are friends and family and suspect that there is something going on. You really need to get that person and try to get them somewhere that they can talk to someone. I don’t ask “does your husband beat you?” what I ask is “when was the last time he hit you?” I ask with the assumption it already happened. If you are a family member again I will ask the same way, how often does John beat you, when was the last time he hit you? It takes them aback and you can right away see if there is something going on, so you have gotten verification. At that point then whatever you can do to get them to go to Women’s Department, get them to talk to some of the councilors there, you really have to get them to talk to someone who can begin to convince them that they are worthy and that their lives could be in serious danger depending on the level which this person is.”

 

Victims of family violence needs support and even though efforts to help them may seem futile at times.  Lovell stresses, it can always help to try to one more time.

 

Jenny Lovell

“Make a report for heaven’s sake and if you hear a women being beaten, don’t sit in your house and ignore it and say oh well look at how many times you gave called the police, call the police just one more time. It’s really important that we intervene. These things are ending in death.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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