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  • Writer's pictureItsik Romano

Signs and symbols of domestic violence to look out for

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Image: Kat J

The Coronavirus Pandemic reaching its fifth wave in Quebec has taken a severe toll on citizens. The announcement of a second curfew just in time for the new year was alarming and discouraging, to say the least.

One thing we must consider, and learn to be more vigilant about is the rise of domestic violence and abuse. People are frustrated, they are cooped up in their homes, and they have absolutely nowhere to go. Where then, can this frustration be taken out?

Sadly, domestic violence is on the rise, both locally and globally. Thankfully, through the power of the internet and social media, men and women have come up with really effective ways of helping those in danger find help, support, and safety.

Although COVID cases in the province are starting to decline, there is still no real end in sight. With that in mind, here are a few signs, signals and symbols to look out for if a friend or loved one is experiencing domestic violence and needs help.


Some Signs and Signals of Abuse

Sudden or drastic changes in appearance, such as a sudden drop or rise in weight, a shift in wardrobe, or hair makeover.

Avoiding contact with family or friends

Often times, abusers will isolate their victims from those close to them, in order to gain more control. If a friend or loved one is more reluctant to see you than ever before, they could also fear you realizing they are in an abusive situation.

Moodiness & Irritability

Physical signs of stress such as headaches, lack of appetite, constipation or diarrhea.

Changes in bevaviour that seem unlike the person.

Coming to the defence of the abuser in question.


Ordering A Pizza

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A method that gained striking propulartiy in 2019, is for victims suffering abuse to call 911 or a trusted loved one but to instead pretend like they are ordering a pizza.

When the 911 operator, or person on the other end of the line asks questions such as "are you in danger?" and "do you need help?", victims can respond with lines like "Yes I would like to make that a combo" or "Yes, a size large."

Although this cry for help is often used with 911 dispatchers, it is important nonetheless to know it exists, in case you ever receive a seemingly confusing phone call from a family member or friend. Ask as many questions as possible, and always try to have the caller stay on the line while you seek out appropriate help.

Hand Signal for Help

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the popular social media app TikTok spread messages across the globe like wildfire. None likely more important than the universal signal for help which went viral over the course of the pandemic and has since saved lives.

Victims in distress who tuck their thumb in and hug the rest of their fingers over that same tucked thumb will signal (to those who understand) that they are in danger.

This is why it is so incredibly important to know that messages like these exist. To the average person, it may go unnoticed. But to someone with the appropriate knowledge, it could save a life.


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