Signs of Physical Abuse & How To Get Help

Physical abuse can take many forms, and can happen to anyone, regardless of gender. Learn how to recognize physical abuse, and get help breaking free from an abusive relationship at TheHopeLine.

If you are being abused, please know abuse is never your fault. You are not too weak. You are not alone. People do care. This is the truth, even if your abuser has convinced you otherwise. You can break free and start healing now.

What is Physical Abuse?

Physical abuse is any act of physical harm that someone uses to control, threaten, or harm another person. Common examples of physical abuse include:

  • Physical restraint (tying or holding you to a floor, wall, object, etc.)
  • Hitting or slapping
  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Biting
  • Pushing or Shoving
  • Painfully Tight Gripping or Holding
  • Reckless Driving
  • Throwing Things
  • Using Weapons to Hurt or Threaten
  • Choking or Strangling
  • Acting Physically Demeaning or Intimidating

While physical abuse tends to refer to the actual acts of harm, threatening to harm as a means of control is still inappropriate and is emotional abuse. If someone has hurt you physically or threatened to hurt you in any way through their rage, cruelty, or attempts to control you or your behavior, you need to get help right away.

Signs of Physical Abuse

While it is not always obvious that physical abuse is occurring, common signs of physical abuse may include:

  • Unusual and Frequent Bruises, Marks, Scrapes, or Cuts
  • High Frequency of Injuries
  • Frequent Trips to the Emergency Room

It is important to note these signs do not always mean someone is being abused. They could be a result of physical or mental illness, or of other harmful behaviors such as cutting.

If you have a loved one you worry is being abused, share your concern privately, and ask them if they’re safe. If they express a need for help, involve concerned adults or experts in these situations. Make sure you do not put your own safety at risk.

Physical Abuse: Help and Resources

If you are being physically abused and are in immediate danger, call 911. If you are not in immediate danger, you should:

  • Create a Safety Plan: Include people you can contact when you are in trouble and places you can go that are safe from your abuser. Keep this information in a journal or other private place that your abuser is not likely to find or access.
  • Alert Friends and Family: Let people you trust know what is going on so they can help you enact your safety plan and break the cycle of abuse in your relationship.
  • Get Help: In addition to TheHopeLine, there are a wide variety of support and advocacy groups that offer resources for abuse victims. See a list of organizations we recommend below.

We will say it again because this is important: abuse is never your fault. You are not too weak. You are not alone. People do care. This is the truth, even if your abuser has convinced you otherwise. You can break free and start healing now.

TheHopeLine offers confidential live chat and email from mentors who can encourage you in the process of breaking free and aid your recovery after abuse. We are committed to protecting your safety and privacy. Reach out today.

Want to learn more? Explore our library of blogs, podcasts, ebooks, and other resources for answers to your questions about abuse:

  • Is He Abusive or Just Angry?
  • Is It Safe to Confront Someone About Their Abusive Behavior?
  • How Do I Make New Friends After An Abusive Relationship?

Most Recent Blogs on Physical Abuse

Identifying Early Signs of Physical Abuse

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Breaking the Cycle of Abuse Physical abuse is not always apparent, and it can take time to become obvious. But identifying early signs of a physically abusive relationship may be key to breaking the cycle of abuse. It’s important to remember that abuse goes beyond anger, and that arguing and conflict are..Read more

Physical Abuse: What to Do if You’ve Been Assaulted

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Get Help Right Away: If you need immediate help after assault, call 911. If you or someone you know is being abused or neglected, you can call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at (800) 422-4453. Push 1 to speak to a counselor. Assault is one of the most painful and..Read more

What Are Red Flags to Look for When Dating Online?

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Ten Red Flags to Look for When Dating Online “Dating.” It’s a tale as old as time. We all dream of meeting our soulmate, preferably in some romantic way that makes a great story to tell at parties for years to come. Whether you meet at school, the gym, the coffee..Read more

Can You Get PTSD From an Abusive Relationship?

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PTSD from an Abusive Relationship Can PTSD Occur After an Abusive Relationship? Absolutely, yes. If you’ve reached the point of wondering about the answer to that question, it’s time to ask another couple of questions: Are you or is someone you know engaged in a potentially abusive relationship? Are you or..Read more

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Don’t Lose Hope In Tough Times. There Is More.

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When you're losing hope, it's not always helpful to have someone tell you what to do or explain where you went wrong. You need someone to listen, to be there for you, and to remind you that you were created for a purpose. I rediscovered my sense of hope in..Read more

Red Flags, but Married Him Anyway

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Some people get divorced because abuse makes them feel unsafe. Others feel trapped by their partner’s addiction. Perhaps there has been infidelity in the relationship. Whatever the reason, divorce can be devastating for everyone in a family. Make sure you have the support you need. If you don’t know where..Read more

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