Both men and women can become victims of physical abuse. The victim
is not to blame. No matter what happened, violence is not okay.
Physical abuse includes hitting, pushing, shaking, slapping,
kicking, pinching, choking, strangling, tying a person up, drugging a person
with medicine, burning, or threats of harm to other family members or pets. The
physical abuse may come from a stranger, acquaintance, or from a close friend
or another family member. Many victims of abuse know their attacker.
Physical abuse causes bodily injuries, such as bruises, burns,
fractures, cuts, punctures, or organ damage.
It may be hard for your family member to ask for help or talk about
the abuse. There are many reasons he or she may feel this way. Abusers often
use emotional and physical abuse along with apologies, promises, and affection
to control their victims. Your family member may feel confused and hold on to
the hope that the abuser will change. The abuser may ask for forgiveness, make
promises to stop, act loving, or buy the person gifts. Along with painful
times, there may be loving moments and happy memories. The abuser may be a good
provider or parent.
Once abuse starts, it usually gets worse if steps are not taken to
stop it. If your family member was physically abused, it is important for him
or her to seek help and continue to get help for as long as it is needed. You
can call the police, or a health professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or
counselor or a local mental health clinic. Any of these people can help your
family member deal with feelings, get medical treatment if needed, and take
steps to stop the abuser. If the victim is an older adult, call the local adult
protective agency. If the victim is a child, call the local children's
protective services agency.