Friday, April 10, 2009

If You Know Someone Who Is Being Abused...

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If you know someone who is being abused, you CAN help.

Don't be afraid to let her know that you are concerned for her safety. Help her recognize the abuse. Tell her you see what is going on and that you want to help. Help her recognize that what is happening is not normal and that she deserves a healthy, non-violent relationship.

Acknowledge that she is in a very difficult and scary situation. Let her know that the abuse is NOT HER FAULT. Reassure her that she is not alone and that there is help and support out there.

Be supportive. Listen to her. Remember that is may be difficult for her to talk about the abuse. Let her know that you are available to help whenever she may need it. What she needs most is someone who will believe and listen to her.

Be non-judgmental. Respect her decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. She may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not criticize her decisions or try to guilt her. She will need your support even more during those times.

Encourage her to participate in activities outside of the relationship with friends and family.

If she ends the relationship, continue to be supportive of her. Even though the relationship was abusive, she may still feel sad and lonely once it is over. She will need time to mourn the loss of the relationship and will especially need your support at that time.

Help her develop a safety plan. There will be a following post specifically on safety plans.

Encourage her to talk to people who can provide help and guidance. Find a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. Offer to go with her or babysit her children while she goes. Offer to help her talk to family and friends. If she has to go to the police, court or a lawyer, offer to go along for moral support.

Remember that you CANNOT "rescue" her. Although it is difficult to see someone you care about get hurt, ultimately the person getting hurt must be the one to decide that she wants to do something about it. It is important for you to support her and help her find a way to safety and peace.

I also found and have "borrowed" this short list from Turning Point.

What to do...

*Do not confront the abuser

*When speaking to the victim, assure her that she is not the cause of the violence

*Be prepared for her to minimize or deny the abuse

*Help her identify her own strengths and possible resources

*Is she is living with her abuser and chooses to leave, discuss a safety plan if there is advanced time

There is a bounty of information out there in books, on the internet, etc. On the sidebar of my blog there is a list of links concerning domestic abuse. An especially good one that has a forum full of amazing people is Our Place (the link is just below my blog header). There is also a list of very helpful books on the sidebar.

Knowledge is POWER.

4 comments:

Boy Mom said...

I have often wondered what to do if I met someone in such a situation. Thanks for the info.

How was your trip to Gunnison?

Suz said...

I wish I could open my sisters eyes to your... liberating power.

I know it took you a long time to get where you are.

Sometimes I don't have the strength or patience to listen to my sis as I should. It is hard. I love her. I can see what she is going through. It is a struggle to help her.

I love and appreciate you so much. Thanks for your listening ear and heart.

Have a great day! Love ya.

Librafury said...

I'm glad people are reading this stuff. It's not fun or entertaining stuff to read about. The trip to Gunnison is this weekend. I had to wait for the girls to get approved by the prison to visit. Can I just tell you how excited I am?

Librafury said...

It does take time to get through the grieving and get centered. Don't feel too bad about not having the patience and strength to listen more than you can. You have a life of your own. When she has the "lightbulb moment" that SHE has the power to change things, and only SHE can do what needs to be done, she'll start feeling more empowered.

I love you too!