Escaping domestic abuse

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Black eyes and bruises are telltale signs of an abusive relationship, but there are other signs as well.

The American Medical Association estimates that more than four million women are victims of severe assaults by boyfriends and husbands each year.

About 1 in 4 women is likely to be abused by a partner in her lifetime, according to actabuse.com.

At SABRA house, a Selma shelter for women who are victims of domestic abuse, there are women who don’t have physical scars.

There are many different types of abuse and women are not always the victims. Sometimes it’s the children.

And while females are victims of family violence at a rate at least three times that of males, it does happen to men – who are often too embarrassed to tell anyone.

According to SABRA Prevention Director Sabrah Agee, abuse can range from sexual and physical abuse to emotional and psychological.

Boys who grow up in an abusive home are more likely to be an abusive partner when they grow up – even if that abuse is not physical, and is more psychological, mental or even abuse through neglect.

Girls who grow up in similar situations are more likely to be with an abusive partner, Agee said.

For those who feel trapped in abusive relationships, there is hope.

In addition to offering shelter, SABRA Sanctuary assists victims with their legal needs, organizes weekly support group meetings and provides crisis intervention through a 24-hour hotline.

The organization also refers victims to agencies that assist them in finding housing, job training and other needs.

SABRA Sanctuary is located at 726 Dallas Ave., or call 877-4645 for more information.