Red Flags indicating a victim is at high risk of being killed or almost killed by her abuser
This infographic comes from DVRCV (Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, Australia). It highlights the factors that put family violence victims at increased risk of being killed or seriously injured. These risk factors have been ascertained by research that looked at the backstory of lethal and near-lethal cases of domestic violence.
The infographic can be downloaded here [Internet Archive link] as a PDF.
You may find that when you click that link you get a warning message saying the site is not secure. We think DVRCV might have arranged that link to give a warning message so as to alert victims of abuse to in case the victim’s computer or phone may be monitored by her abuser, and to give her a moment to consider whether to proceed further if she is using a computer or phone which her abuser also uses or might be covertly surveilling. Barb got a warning message when she first clicked on the link; she decided to proceed because she’s confident her laptop isn’t being monitored by her two ex- husbands. And when Barb chose to proceed despite the warning, she got to the page at DVRCV’s website where the PDF can be downloaded.
If you don’t want to click on that link, you can download the image from this post. Here’s how: right-click on the image and then choose ‘save image as’ from the drop-down menu.
We encourage you to print and share the infographic with those needing to learn more about domestic violence and abuse.
We also encourage you to share it on FB and other social media. Here is a smaller version of the image which might better suit some forms of social media.
- Posted in: Abusers
- Tagged: abuser's tactics, protecting victims, red flags, resources for supporters, resources for victims, safety, violence
This is a helpful graphic. Most people don’t know about the risk factors. I didn’t until I met with a domestic violence counselor and started studying up on abuse. When I look over my life I realize many if these factors were present during times of escalating abuse but one I would add to this graphic is pornography use. The heightened use resulted in heighten abuse, especially sexual assaults and being treated like an object.
I agree! Porn use invites evil to indwell the addict. I personally have witnessed a demon in my ex. His eyes turned black.
No light was seen.
Proverbs states that the eyes are the window to the soul.
If there is no light? There is no life.
Hi Herjourney, just a tip — it’s dubious whether the term ‘addict’ is the right term to use for porn users. I think Dr George Simon may have written about this somewhere, and we respect his viewpoint a great deal. One reason it’s not a good idea to call porn users ‘addicts’ is because they can then say, “It’s like alcoholism — it’s a disease. So you gotta feel sorry for me and cut me some slack!” Same with the term ‘sex addict’.
This is incredibly–& frighteningly–helpful.
I am struck by the warning that ANY of these behaviors increase the risk.
It doesn’t say “three or four” or “several” or “a few” or “most”. It says “ANY”.
Victims / targets are so accustomed to abuse that they tolerate many behaviors, not realizing the escalation.
Thank you for this.
Well done for posting this info…. It could be the difference between life and death for some people.
When I read things about narcissists and abusers, I sometimes see things that I have done. I don’t think this means I’m an abuser, and I’m definitely not a narcissist, but bc of my husband’s actions I have done the “where are you” texts b/c he has just disappeared before without saying where he’s going. I’ve tracked his phone calls and texts because I thought he was having an affair based on his behavior towards me. Is this wrong? Is it wrong that I’ve done these things? I mean, I just didn’t want to get an STD from him or find out too late that he’s seeing someone else. I still have a strong gut feeling he’s seeing someone outside of our marriage but I haven’t found any concrete evidence.
Hi Broken Not Shattered, many victims ask the kind of question you’ve asked here. 🙂
It’s a good question. The infographic in this post is to explain what the red flags are for increased risk of lethal or near-lethal outcomes. It is not a Definition of domestic abuse.
I’ve deal with your question in this post:
Defining domestic abuse by a list of behaviors is never going to capture it
Bless you, and thanks for asking the question here as I think other readers may be wonder the same thing too. 🙂
Thanks for this!
Thank you Barb!!
An abuser acquiring a weapon, especially a firearm, should, in my opinion, be taken as a direct death threat against the abused. The abuser also knows that the implied threat will be very plain to the abused, but, since the threat is implied, it is not readily provable. If your abuser does acquire a weapon, please immediately call a women’s shelter and get advice on making a safety plan, etc.
Yes when you are being abused and the abuser knows what he is doing by bringing a firearm into the house…A victim deeply feels the “implied” threat but it is so difficult to get that to translate to anyone else. Authorities do not care, they carry guns themselves, pastors do not care because they do not get the “implied” part, and the abuser knows this ahead of time.
In our case, I found an open empty gun case under my side of the bed. Now the implication would seem fairly obvious? But not when the abuser has already told everyone else about the gun. So I of course call whoever will answer deeply panicked and they already know therefore my panic is ridiculed. This was when I put all the pieces together, everything on this list shown here was present, even including the porn. While everyone minimized his purchase of a gun “To protect his family”…..I fled and even though he and the church followed me, after that I refused to let them make me and my children live in the same household. It did not really help other than at least there were locked doors between us at night time.
Thanks Memphis for sharing this. One a survivor told me that prior to him even hooking her into a relationship, while they were just colleagues at work together and she was maybe vaguely interested in the possibility of dating him, he told many other people in the workplace his ‘justifications’ for certain previous behaviors of his. When this victim was well and truly hooked and committed in relationship with him, she started to find out about his previous behaviors (big $$$ fraud on his previous workplace, multiple allegations of sexual harassment in his former workplaces, and the fact that some women had alleged he had seriously abused them).
…. so when this victim started tentatively to express her concerns to trusted colleagues at work, they all parroted the guy’s excuses and false stories. They’d been primed to defend him. And they’d been primed to intensify her sense of isolation and her perception that ‘no one will believe me’ when she started to come out of the fog.
The “almost killed” is especially important. I read about this one woman who was so savagely attacked by her abuser she sustained brain damage to the point that she needs a live-in caretaker. She’ll never ‘get better’. She’s done. And what did her abuser get? Someone who already had a criminal record….. 15 years (or so). That’s it. 15 years. I think if you are a good prisoner you get out in half the time you are sentenced for, so in 7-8 years he is back out on the street. He can still make something of his life but she’s forever done. (And no, don’t read into this that I think those who are disabled are ‘less than’ or anything of that nature.)
A living death.
In reply to your comment on the word addict. I totally agree with your assessment of the user of porn.
There are pastors who state a porn user should be given slack and to continue to enjoy sex with your user spouse.
I have also been told by so-called Christian counselors .. to have sex with my spouse, even if he hooks up with prostitutes.
My advice and action to my ex was…not sleeping with him and not allowing porn use in the house.
Not having pity on an abuser is sound advice.
Porn seemed to be a very popular subject of lecture in the fellowship? It was very difficult for me to process anything in that time but I do remember they professed it was an addiction and the general theme was that men were more at risk because of their godly makeup?
Therefore, it seemed excusable, and was never a crime. Was never scorned upon, rather we were as wives suppose to feel sorry for their downfall and help them by being openly available sexually. I am serious, this is way messed up!!!! Even though all the time I spent in church I was traumatized, my soul raged against this.
I would tell the pastors he would put the labels to his porn under “What would Jesus Do”…..I would innocently open it….also he would put it under games for my then 3 year old son, and my spouse would laugh at how upset I would get when my son would find it!!! I told the pastors all of this!! But somehow, It was excusable???? Somehow? It become about me?
Finding out your spouse joyfully uses porn is not exactly something that makes you feel valued, then again neither does being pushed, poked, punched, kicked, and sleep deprived. Yet they shift the blame on my lack of making the home a “Sanctuary”…..Some sick puppies.
This activity is actually from John Stoltenberg’s book and workshops, so I give him all the credit as this is all his genius idea…… in case any of these men in your life start to argue about how porn isn’t that bad, it’s just beautiful women, blah, blah, blah…….
Have them (the porn users who proclaim the ‘innocence’ of their ‘appreciation’ of the female form) do the pose. That’s right. Have them do the very pose that a woman featured in a magazine is doing. Pick a page, rip it out. And have them do the poses. Have a group critique by everyone else not doing the poses, especially the women who are present, and suggest how he can better match the pose featured. Make sure everyone is examining him and ensuring his facial expression is correct, the posture, the angling, etc. is true to the picture. Continue looking at him and then swap him out for others. Make them do some poses. At the end, ask them how they felt.
Pornography is about male domination. Force, violence, subjugation. And what passes for mainstream porn nowadays is way different and way more extreme than a couple decades ago. Author Gail Dines is an anti-porn activist and if you look at her book, her articles, etc. you’ll find a lot of information.
–In case I’m getting way off topic, or telling way too much about the contents of John Stoltenberg’s book, or whatever, please don’t post. But I just got to thinking about such upon reading Memphis’ posting.
Anony, sadly, there are MANY men who would RELISH this kind of attention and would ENJOY posing and posturing…if they had a rapt audience to ogle them. People with the brain-functioning of a psychopath simply LOVE TO BE LOOKED AT, because the way that their mind works is that any attention they receive is WORSHIP. This would be like a spa day for my husband….several women sitting down critiquing him while he poses…..he’d be in heaven! (Maybe if the judges were shouting out disgraceful comments that undermined his “worship,” he might get mad but if they were giving him “tips” on how he should look and stand, he’d LOVE it!)
I have a bunch of psychopaths in my family and a trait that is common to most of them that I didn’t understand until I learned the truth about psychopathy, is that they love to be looked at when they eat. This is something I used to deplore (people staring at me while I eat) because it’s just another thing I was criticized for. But my husband, mom, sister and most all the p’s I know LOVE to be watched while they are eating, working out, putting on their make-up, curling their hair etc. (In fact they won’t even workout or shop etc., UNLESS there is someone to watch them.) They are NOT LIKE the rest of us.
Believe it or not, many psychopaths really believe that some women / children LOVE and DESIRE to be dominated and that it’s all an act when they scream. (That it “hurts so good.” This is what was said to me as I lost my virginity and was screaming in pain for the first few times — he thought I was ENJOYING it. UNBELIEVABLE BUT TRUE!)
Keep in mind that when a psychopath is shown or hears a word such as rape, gore, tornado — their brain processes it the same way that it does when they read or hear a word like love, sweet, table. Their brains don’t distinguish between words that SHOULD elicit an emotional response (either positively OR negatively), and oftentimes it takes MUCH MORE STIMULATION than it does for the rest of us for them to “feel” something. That’s why violent porn, loud and gory video games, and mistreating their wives and children (or animals) so that everyone is screeching and shrill or shouting in anger or frustration, or cowering in fear — can actually be soothing / “positively” thrilling for them. Because THEN they CAN feel something. They are anti-Christs down to their bones — the opposite of those who belong to Jesus. And they are also very different from people who are not regenerate but who do have an active conscience and have not seared their conscience so it is functionally dead.
Hi RBE, I edited the latter part of your last paragraph a bit. Hope you don’t mind.
Wow, RPE, Thanks for the insights and info. I’ve immersed myself as best as possible in studying up on psychopaths as I unwittingly seem to collect them. It’s truly unnerving. And some of what you detailed out for me rang true for my experiences as well.
The reality of a psychopath is so dark, so inhuman, so depraved, so sickening, and so violating, it still shocks me. Shock and awe. Stunning evil. It’s scary enough for me that I freeze…..and ‘comply’ (it’s not even a thought process or anything but automated survival instinct kicking in and taking over)…..and pretend it wasn’t so. Make-believe land. Somehow I have to get past that but I still go right back to the freeze / pretend / escape via make believe (mind over matter, ‘this is not happening’…..)….. Any tips?? What is that, the trauma response? Overwhelm, fear, dread, and time / space distortions.
I wish I could pick your brain somehow as I desperately need to continue learning and growing in knowledge regarding psychopaths. Sadists. Sickos. Monsters. All of it. And here I am not bragging or saying I’m perfect or anything, but I’m pretty plain vanilla by comparison, a goody two-shoes. Perhaps that is the appeal? I think I am simply an easy target, incredibly vulnerable, and a very gratifying mark, as my suffering and pain tends to be overwhelming already, so it doesn’t take much to squash me like a bug.
But anyhow……. the intended objective for the “do the pose” was for the men to have to feel what it is like to actually do those poses, be objectified, feel how incredibly unnatural and actually painful some of the contortions actually are…… and see how indeed, porn features real human beings, who have to pose in those painful, degrading ways, feel sub-human, an object, no more, and begin to pull away from the propaganda and lies of pornography…… things like ‘women like to be dominated / used / abused’, or ‘women like to be hurt’ or ‘no means yes’ or ‘women like to be degraded’, etc.
I’m really sorry that you were violated in such a horrific way.
The whole ….attention, attention, attention……worship me, bow to me, etc., I see what you’re getting at. That’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.
What I had envisioned were some stereotypical ‘macho’ men having to bend and pout and contort and ‘smile!’, etc. and see what it feels like to not be regarded as an actual person, but rather a product, a collection of body parts, nothing more.
I’m so very thankful this website exists, that Jeff, Barbara, and others run this blog. From examining Scripture to re-evaluating ‘C’hristian norms, to sharing our experiences, etc. with others……It’s keeping me alive. Giving thanks to the LORD for His goodness and His blessings. What a treasure to have found this site. The prayer requests, all of it.
I wonder if the sudden appearance of a tool that is considered more of a weapon in urban US, such as a machete, is also a warning sign? My H had brought one home and my small daughter found it. He blamed it on me b/c it was in the laundry room and he said she shouldn’t be in there. I think he did it for shock value but I don’t want to be dumb.
He didn’t tell me he had brought it home, her finding it was the first time I saw it as well.
That’s disturbing. It’s your home, too, as well as your small daughter’s home. At any rate, if your H is bringing home weapons for shock value to unnerve or upset you, it’s not a good place to be. That’s devious. Intimidation, even if just subtle things, here and there. Maybe he doesn’t pick it up and threaten you with it, but now you have a machete in your home, which your small daughter discovered. If you are even asking yourself these questions, it’s probably a good indication that there’s reason for your mistrust and suspicions in the first place. Does he mean you harm? versus How much harm does he mean me?
I’m just responding, and I don’t choose my words carefully, but I wanted to be responsive. At any rate you and your daughter live there, too. If you don’t like it, you get a vote as to whether or not it stays or goes, especially with a small child being there. 🙂
I agree with Replying — what your h did is very disturbing. Furthermore, the laundry in a family home is not usually a place where kids are forbidden to go. So his claim that your daughter shouldn’t be in there sounds like just another way of him trying to shift blame off himself and onto you and your daughter.
What he’s done by bringing a machete into your home, especially without having checked with you first to see if you thought that was okay, and esp if he has no good reason to own a machete because he’s not going to use one in the forest, is just plain WRONG. And it’s a Red Flag that you are at high risk.
I encourage you to seek help from the hotline in your country and to seriously consider leaving him, and if you do leave him, make plans to do it secretly if you can, without him being aware of your plans or where you may be going. You can find hotlines on our Resources Page.
A much better response from Barbara. I’ve grown accustomed to things that are way, way out there. Yes, there is suddenly a machete in your laundry room. That, indeed, is cause for concern. And exactly as Barbara points out, his chosen response of blame-shifting indicates abusiveness. There’s also the creep / danger factor inherent in the machete because you can have a gun in the house that is unloaded and locked out (those red plastic things you loop through the gun and lock into place so it cannot be loaded and used without first unlocking and taking the red thing out) in addition to being locked into a hard case, and then the rule is nobody brings ammunition into the house…… There’s no safety lock for a machete. And you can really hack a person up quite quickly with one of them (don’t ask how I know this). It’s ready to go 24 / 7.
And even if you put it away on some high shelf in a locked cabinet (or something) the fact that he purchased it, snuck it into the house, and now has it there, changes the dynamics of the house. The next time he is upset with you, are you going to be wondering when he’ll grab that and trot it out for intimidation / threatening purposes?
The small daughter being in the home, too. And he doesn’t even ask first, then apologize (which is preferable, for a lot of guys ask for forgiveness instead of seeking permission, which is another thing, too) but rather attacks you and the small child for doing something as basic as going into the laundry room of the house.
Finally, it really is way better to err on the side of caution. The whole ‘better safe than sorry’ principle applies here. That’s my extra two cents. 🙂
Many of the abusers in my family of origin showed several red flags.
Without understanding the source of the impetus, I left the place where they would skeet shoot. Guns have always made me nervous. The presence of the shotgun had already been “explained” – hunting, taking potshots at gophers.
One short-term relationship evidenced many red flags, including items with potential for great harm – the presence explained by “a method of exercise”.
In both cases, the method of intimidation was being taught by one generation to the next.
Easy to see the red flags in hindsight….not so much so when the abuse begins in infancy.
Covert / coercive abuse adds another dimension.
No wonder I avoid / don’t watch certain events.
No wonder I avoid certain types of parks.
No wonder I avoid certain kinds of unknown adventures.
I can live with that….