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Women with bruises


Granny_Weatherwax
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When you see a woman with a bruise (esp facial) do you automatically assume she has been abused?

 

I do not but I'm kinda clutzsy and tend to bruise easily. For instance, I was playing tennis and whacked my eyeglasses with my racquet and gave myself a bruise. It never occurred to me that people might think my DH hit me.

 

This isn't meant to be controversial or a statement on the prevalence of domestic violence. I'm simply wondering if people automatically assume foul play.

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No, I don't automatically assume that.

I have often been bruised from climbing and hiking. Once I stepped on a branch and it whipped up and whacked me in the face, giving me a bloody lip that definitely looked like somebody hit me. 

I would become suspicious if somebody had a pattern of injury, though. And I would probably ask her about it. When I looked like somebody punched me, not a single person said a word - that really gave me pause. 

 

ETA: My climber friend had a Dr.'s appointment; he saw her bruises and did ask her directly whether she was abused. We could laugh about it because she wasn't - but I would expect a health care professional to take note and ask.

Edited by regentrude
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I don't automatically assume a woman has been the victim of violence when I see a bruise.  

 

"Guess where that bruise came from" is a game I frequently play.  I'm constantly finding them on myself and I have no idea where they came from.

 

I do have a toddler who will unconsciously pinch my upper arms when she's tired.  It hurts like the dickens so I remember those.  I usually have one or two bruises on my arms in various stages of healing because of her sleepy fiddling. 

Edited by BigMamaBird
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No.

 

Once, though, I was picking my dh up from the airport and used the bathroom. I hit the back of my arm on the hook thing stuck to the door as it was low. Nasty bruise on the back of my arm. A couple of days later my neighbor and I were talking and she noticed it. She said right away, "Did your husband grab your arm and do that to you?!"

 

I was taken aback but also a little in awe of her protection.

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I don't, but I also bruise easily. And contrary to what most people think as a pediatrician I don't think abuse when I see bruises on kids either. I often have parents worried about explaining a bruise on a kid but there are patterns that I would look for that are more worrisome. I have my own kids and at certain ages they were covered in bruises over their shins and elbows and foreheads. Big bruises in unusual places without a story would worry me.

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A number of years ago, I was trying to help ds with his croquet, and he hit me in the eye with the croquet mallet.  I had a huge hematoma and bruise around that eye.  No one would look straight at me.  They gave a lot of dirty looks to dh.  I told dh that we'd better not eat out because who knows what would have been in his food!  It was such a relief when our neighbor across the street finally asked me straight out "So. . . . did you "walk into a door?"  and I could explain about the mallet. 

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I wouldn't assume that if I saw a random woman in the grocery store for example. Around here people are very active and hike a lot. Falls and accidents happen. My assumption is also that most of the time (although I don't know what the statistics are), abuse doesn't have that obvious appearance.

 

I have struggled with anemia most of my life and during/post college I had a couple super hard years. I bruised at the drop of a hat anywhere I bumped even a bit so I was bruised up and down my arms and legs regularly. My coworkers asked me all the time if my husband (then fiance) abused me. It was a weird feeling. I was glad to know they cared but it was weird to have that assumption of blame on DH.

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I don't, but I also bruise easily. And contrary to what most people think as a pediatrician I don't think abuse when I see bruises on kids either. I often have parents worried about explaining a bruise on a kid but there are patterns that I would look for that are more worrisome. I have my own kids and at certain ages they were covered in bruises over their shins and elbows and foreheads. Big bruises in unusual places without a story would worry me.

I have a question for you:

 

I have a four year old boy who is very active and picks up lots of bruises. I don't normally worry but for some reason he not infrequently has small bruises on his lower back just above the buttocks. I can't figure out where those come from and I do worry that a doctor would think they were from spanking. Would you see that as a warning sign or not? It just seems like odd placement to me for unintentional bumps, though that must be what they are coming from.

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No, but I tend to bruise easily. Unless I saw a lot of bruises on someone regularly, I would not suspect abuse.

 

I had some strange bruise that I don't even remember now, and I remember being concerned that it would send up red flags because it was completely innocuous, but it wasn't a big deal.

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No. Not if the bruise is the sole indicator.

I bruise so easily. I currently have bruises on my hips (from hip checking the credenza behind the sofa and kitchen counters), thighs (from "checking" the corners of the rectangular coffee table next to the sofa), legs and probably on my arms. The bruises I just mentioned are ones I typically always have. 

 

 

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I have a question for you:

 

I have a four year old boy who is very active and picks up lots of bruises. I don't normally worry but for some reason he not infrequently has small bruises on his lower back just above the buttocks. I can't figure out where those come from and I do worry that a doctor would think they were from spanking. Would you see that as a warning sign or not? It just seems like odd placement to me for unintentional bumps, though that must be what they are coming from.

Mine gets similar bruises. When I intentionally watched him for that reason, I realized just how frequently he bumps his back into things that I wouldn't think twice about - the edges of our coffee tables, etc. 

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Mine gets similar bruises. When I intentionally watched him for that reason, I realized just how frequently he bumps his back into things that I wouldn't think twice about - the edges of our coffee tables, etc.

This makes sense. I often have what I refer to as "the dishwasher bruise" on my shin, because I bump against the open door as I'm working in the kitchen.

 

OP, I wouldn't think much unless I saw a pattern in someone who was not into a sports/active lifestyle. I think a bruise combined with aloof behavior would be more telling. Also, some medications cause people to be more susceptible to bruising (blood thinners, etc).

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Once upon a time I did, then I started doing obstacle course races. Now I am the one with bruises and cuts and not due to abuse. It opened my mind to other reasons for the bruises. Even if they are frequently showing up. Though if due to abuse they are usually trying to hide them, if due to other reasons the person tends to not think twice about them.

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I wouldn't think much about it, unless I had reason to.  If it was someone I knew, I might ask how they got it...mostly out of curiosity.  I bruise like a peach, as do two of my daughters.  We are pretty much always sporting a bruise or two somewhere.  About half the time we don't even know how we got them.  

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No.

 

Once, though, I was picking my dh up from the airport and used the bathroom. I hit the back of my arm on the hook thing stuck to the door as it was low. Nasty bruise on the back of my arm. A couple of days later my neighbor and I were talking and she noticed it. She said right away, "Did your husband grab your arm and do that to you?!"

 

I was taken aback but also a little in awe of her protection.

I've done that! Hurts so bad :(

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I wouldn't assume abuse but I would ask what happened and be watching for a tell in their answer and might follow up with a question about abuse.

 

I was routinely hit by a guy and would convince people I was just klutzy. If someone had asked "is someone hitting you?" I think I would have answered truthfully or at least seen them as a person I could potentially confide in.

 

I appreciate that there are people gutsy enough to say something straight out. I think the dirty look givers are jerks because they're not helping.

 

I noticed at the er they ask everyone "do you feel safe in your home?" I thought that was a good thing to ask and I like that they ask everyone.

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It would depend on the person. I'm a former LEO, so I do tend to be a bit suspicious. I worked in a grocery store years ago and a couple came in a few times, and sometimes she had bruises on her faces or was wearing sunglasses in the store. Later he came in by himself and asked me out, and I'm thinking, "You have a girlfriend, and you beat her up, and you think I'm going to go out with you??" I don't automatically think abuse for kids with bruises, but there was one time when I looked at a friend's kid, and warning bells were going off in my mind from the location of his bruises, and I was right, unfortunately. I would be really suspicious of bruises on kids' cheeks if I don't know the family well because of that...I have three super rough little boys and I can't think of a single time when any of them has had a bruise on their cheek.

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I don't assume but it would cross my mind as a possibility.  I know I've bopped myself in the face a couple times and wondered if people think the black eye came from DH.  My mom injures herself so regularly that if you didn't know her you'd definitely think abuse (she's a risk taker and hardcore outdoorsy/farmer type.... we're all surprised she hasn't lost a limb yet).

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I am an awful klutz and would never assume this. My poor MIL has very bad circulation and moves clumsily and falls A LOT. She fell on her face (was unable to catcher herself) and broke her dentures inside her mouth. She had to spend the night at the hospital while they made sure they got all the porcelain out of her mouth. The nurses were all convinced that she was abused and wouldn't let her sleep all night. They kept trying to get her to a women's shelter. She tried and tried to explain that her dh would NEVER hit her. He, in fact, treasures her above all else. But they were so jaded they wouldn't believe her.

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Wait...so it wouldn't pop into anyone's head? At all? It certainly would in mine. If I saw a woman with bruises on her face, my first thought would be, "Who hit her?"

 

It doesn't mean I wouldn't reject that thought based on the situation, but yes: woman + bruised face = did she get hit?

 

And I'd certainly ask, "Where'd you get that bruise?"

 

Or do you guys mean that you see it and the thought flashes through your head, but that you reject it and consider other reasons for the bruise? I would probably do that, too, but the thought would be there initially.

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Yes, I assume some sort of assault until told otherwise. DD16 is a dancer of many genres. The breakdancing causes bruises in suspicious places like her shoulders. And do not get me started on how bad her feet look. It is what it is. But, I feel like I need to be suspicious about bruises since many people may not know how, or be afraid, to ask for help.

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I wouldn't assume it, there would have to be other factors involved. 

 

I have dark under eye circles. One morning I was so tired and probably applied my brown eye shadow a bit too much. I had one professor stop mid-stride to make sure I was okay. It looked like I had a black eye, nope just exhausted. His concern was touching though. 

 

 

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Bruises under thick makeup is worrying. Obvious bruises are less scary as people I know tend to hide/conceal bruises in abuse cases.

 

The women I have known who have been abused always went to extreme lengths to hide the bruises.

I agree. My friend's mom was abused to the point of hospitalization. The ones I know hide whatever physical abuse to keep attention away from them while at work.

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I was just wondering the same thing this week. I have this crazy black eye and cut above my eye. I was at the dinner table and dd said something funny and I dropped my head down laughing and CUT MY EYE on the rim of my heavy glass tumbler. It is the craziest injury and I have wondered if people think dh is hitting me. And then the real story sounds so weird, I don't even want to try to explain it! 

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Not bruising in general, but if I specifically see a black eye or broken nose, I'll admit my head does go there a little. Not like I'd assume it was true, but more like I'd wonder. Unless I had more evidence somehow - like having seen the partner be verbally abusive or having heard her complain about her relationship in a worrisome way - I don't think I'd ask though...

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Although I would not "assume," I don't have a problem asking in a concerned way if she is OK, indicating that I see she hurt herself.  Then I watch the response, which usually does not indicate foul play.

 

Then the next question is, if I do suspect that there's been abuse, what do I do about that?

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When I looked like somebody punched me, not a single person said a word - that really gave me pause.

 

Maybe everybody thinks you're the type to get into a bar fight. :P

 

Realistically though, I think demeanor probably does matter. I think there's a good chance I might ask/make a comment of some sort about how on earth you'd have gotten a bruise there, but I wouldn't assume it's DV.

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small bruises on his lower back just above the buttocks

 

FWIW, a certain child in our family had ITP (low platelets) around that age.  We discovered it after he had weird random bruises on his abdomen and the ped ordered a cbc.  His platelet levels have been on the low side for several years, though not nearly as concerning as they were originally.  Recently, ITP fit into the big picture in our immunologist's diagnosis of an immune deficiency.

 

ETA, another option is a Mongolian spot.  One of my kids had one for a while when she was little though I think it may have gone away eventually - don't remember.  I have also seen my kids get bruises around that area from weirdly bumping into the bathtub faucet while trying to stand up, or otherwise from some random occurrence playing outside, playground, etc., or bumping into a furniture corner while playing tackle football in the house  :glare:

Edited by wapiti
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I have a question for you:

 

I have a four year old boy who is very active and picks up lots of bruises. I don't normally worry but for some reason he not infrequently has small bruises on his lower back just above the buttocks. I can't figure out where those come from and I do worry that a doctor would think they were from spanking. Would you see that as a warning sign or not? It just seems like odd placement to me for unintentional bumps, though that must be what they are coming from.

 

Does this "bruise" ever completely go away? Is it possible that it is a Mongolian Spot? They can change in appearance at times.

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I've had bruises on my face twice in the past five years.  In both cases I was assaulted by a patient and or family member of a patient in our ED. In both cases I did cover the bruises with makeup when I needed to work subsequent shifts as an EM physician because I just didn't want to explain what had happened. 

Edited by LMV
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The last black eye I had was from my infant cold cocking me with my phone charging port thingie.

 

But yes, if I see someone with a bad black eye I will generally assume they were in a fight. And ime most "fights" women are involved in where I'm from are awfully one-sided.

 

Especially if there's a similar other wound on her face or arms at the same time.

 

Just random bruises, not black eyes, no. I have no thoughts.

 

That strangers ask is weird to me.

That friends/co-workers Don't ask is also weird to me. If there was a bar fight/insanely strong baby, I want to hear about it and if there's any chance I can help, I want to.

Edited by OKBud
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No, that's not my automatic assumption.

When you see a woman with a bruise (esp facial) do you automatically assume she has been abused?

I do not but I'm kinda clutzsy and tend to bruise easily. For instance, I was playing tennis and whacked my eyeglasses with my racquet and gave myself a bruise. It never occurred to me that people might think my DH hit me.

This isn't meant to be controversial or a statement on the prevalence of domestic violence. I'm simply wondering if people automatically assume foul play.

 

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Wait...so it wouldn't pop into anyone's head? At all? It certainly would in mine. If I saw a woman with bruises on her face, my first thought would be, "Who hit her?"

 

It doesn't mean I wouldn't reject that thought based on the situation, but yes: woman + bruised face = did she get hit?

 

And I'd certainly ask, "Where'd you get that bruise?"

 

Or do you guys mean that you see it and the thought flashes through your head, but that you reject it and consider other reasons for the bruise? I would probably do that, too, but the thought would be there initially.

 

 

It does not enter my mind at all. I am not sure exactly WHICH situation I should be thinking about it though. I know all of my friends' and family's husbands so one bruise wouldn't suddenly make me suspicious of what otherwise seems like a good healthy relationship.  I don't work outside the home or send my kids to school so I don't have many casual acquaintances where I don't know the whole family. 

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I have a question for you:

 

I have a four year old boy who is very active and picks up lots of bruises. I don't normally worry but for some reason he not infrequently has small bruises on his lower back just above the buttocks. I can't figure out where those come from and I do worry that a doctor would think they were from spanking. Would you see that as a warning sign or not? It just seems like odd placement to me for unintentional bumps, though that must be what they are coming from.

I hope that wouldn't be a warning because that seems like a normal kid bruise spot!

 

Going down slides, getting up too soon when under things, jumping off of things too far back and rubbing on the way down, rolling around the floor onto a toy/toys, rolling around outside and down hills, rocking in chairs, sitting against a wall too hard, missing a chair, flopping around the car (while getting in or out!) and hitting a buckle or two...

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