Do you have a daughter; granddaughter or a friend who you think might be involved in an abusive relationship with an intimate partner?

There may be real cause to worry. According to a national survey, twenty-two percent of women 18 and over will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. One of the red flags is a partner who is possessive. Young girls are particularly vulnerable. In the beginning of a relationship, they may mistake possessiveness for caring. Initially it may make them feel loved and special. What you need to watch for if you are worried about your friend or loved one is a sign or signs that her partner is isolating her.

Ask these questions:

  • Is she no longer hanging out with her friends?
  • Has she stopped calling you?
  • Is he telling her what to wear?
  • Does he get jealous easily?
  • Is he verbally abusive?
  • Has he threatened her physically?
  • Does she have bruises and injuries that continue to pop up?
  • Has he taken over her finances?
  • Does he constantly keep tabs on her?

Domestic violence has no boundaries. It can happen to anyone regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status or IQ! It usually starts as emotional abuse that escalates to physical abuse. It is all about power and control. It is not about uncontrolled anger, a previous misconception. For instance, the abusers know just the right spots to hit to avoid immediate bruising. Most abusers are charming and know the right thing to say to those around them including the friends and parents of the victim. If you are worried about your daughter, granddaughter or friend, follow your gut instincts.

Make sure she knows you love her and care about her. She will probably tell you that you are wrong, she loves him and will never leave him. Don\’t push too hard, but let her know you are there for her. Give her the number for the help line: 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233). Most communities have “safe” houses when she is ready to leave. The most important thing is to be there for her, she needs you! Help to stop the cycle of violence.

Dr. Robin Miller's career as a physician has been quite varied. She currently serves as the medical director of Triune Integrative Medicine, a highly innovative Integrative Medicine clinic in Medford, Oregon. She is also a medical reporter for KOBI Channel 5, the NBC affiliate in Medford. She has produced the award-winning health series, “Is there a Doctor in the House,” which is shown on the GE-sponsored Patient Channel nationwide. She is a medical columnist for The Daily Courier in Grant's Pass, Oregon, and the host of a teen health podcast. Robin has written the book Kids Ask the Doctor and the book Confessions of the Soul Straight from the Heart.