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Signs of domestic abuse to be aware of during the holidays

The holidays are upon us and now is the time to keep an eye out for relatives and friends you don't see often that could be suffering from domestic violence.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — With the holiday season upon us, this might be the only time of the year you see extended family or friends, and by being aware of signs of domestic abuse, you could save a life.

It's a statistic you don't want to hear over turkey and stuffing, but one out of four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Men aren't immune either.

"You know we tend to see a lot of times, survivors of domestic violence are pretty withdrawn, so seeing some of those kind of symptoms," Kathy Mull, Director of The Cocoon in Bowling Green said.

While no one's abuse story is identical, there are some common signs you can look for.

"It may be that you're not seeing that family member as much as you used to be seeing that family member and so, you happen to see them around the holidays because we tend to do those types of things as tradition, but those other times you might be seeing that family member is becoming less and less," Mull said.

It's a tough topic to approach, so start with simple comments and questions.

"Starting by asking them 'Are you okay?' 'Do you need anything?' You know, starting a conversation that way to see how it goes in hopes that the loved one may share something," Mull said.

Know they may not be able to take your help immediately because they want to wait and get through the holiday season while trying to make it special for all their other family members.

"That's not necessarily a time that they are reaching out and asking for assistance. What we'll typically see is that once we get past the first of the year that folks feel like they've made it through the holidays and now I'm able to reach out and ask for some assistance," Mull said.

If the time comes where they are trying to get out, that's when it's important they know you're there and resources are available for help.

"All of us know somebody who is experiencing domestic violence whether it's somebody in our own families or a co-worker, a neighbor, something like that," Mull said.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE.


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