Physical Abuse

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.

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.
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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/shoving, painful tight gripping/holding, reckless driving, throwing things, using weapons to hurt or threaten, choking/strangling, and 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.


Physical abuse is harm to your physical body. It often leads to bruising, burns, broken bones, etc. However, physical abuse can also increase your risk of future health issues. One of the more common conditions that can develop is early onset arthritis. You may also have a hard time concentrating as the physical abuse can impact overall brain health. Insomnia is another common consequence of physical abuse.


Even though physical abuse is the action of someone intentionally causing harm to your body, it's also harmful on your mind and emotions. If you have been abused you are likely struggling with fear, confusion, anger, sadness, self-hate, and shame. These emotions may be intense. It is hard to process why someone who is supposed to love and care for you, is instead causing you harm. It’s not your fault. You don’t deserve it.


Physical abuse leaves marks on the body, but it also marks your spirit with invisible wounds. How do you pick up the broken pieces of your soul? You turn to a higher power. Your spirit realizes there is strength beyond yourself. Now is the time to seek peace and strength and wholeness in mind, body and spirit through spiritual counsel, meditation, and prayer.

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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.
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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.
The National Domestic Violence HotlineNational Safe Place (for youth)
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.


You may feel very isolated as a result from the abuse you've endured. You may be convinced that it is somehow your fault and that you're not worth defending. But it's not your fault, and you are worthy, loved and cherished by God. He did not want this for you and His heart breaks for you. The abuse is the result of bad people making very bad choices due to sin. Seek God. He can protect your heart and mind from thoughts of shame. It says in the Bible, The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a place of safety in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9 (GNT) I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. Psalm 34:4-5 (GNT)

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