Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence (IPV), isn’t only physical abuse but also isolation, being abused economically gaslighting threats, and being manipulated. It’s possible to have no idea how to help or reach out to a friend or loved one suffering from domestic violence. The longer you take to reach out, the more in danger your friend or loved one could be. Just showing up and having them know that you’re there for them is a great relief.
Read on to learn ways to help your friend or loved one through domestic violence.
- Be Available For The Abused
According to criminallawgroup.com.au, make time for the abused when it’s most appropriate, not when they’re going through emotions or are simply not in good shape for conversation or any activity. Set apart enough time to hear them out if they feel comfortable opening up to you. When they open up, listen through everything they share with you.
- Don’t Pass Any Judgement.
Don’t point fingers at the person suffering domestic violence, blaming them for their predicament—be it your friend or a loved one. The victim didn’t get into a relationship with an abusive person; there must be specific triggers that the victim can get help identifying by a counselor. It’s not in your place to probe for information from the victim. Instead, give a listening ear and an assurance that you believe what your friend or the abused is telling you.
- Keep In Touch
It’ll go a long way to call your friend or loved one or send them a text message to check on them or ask them out for a walk. Most of the time, an abused person feels isolated, so engaging them in an activity like going out to the market is a good distraction. Affirming your friend or loved one can work miracles for the abused, considering that they come from an environment where they’re always told off and despised.
- Begin A Conversation
Carefully and wisely begin the conversation about domestic violence. Having the abused talk about what they’re going through is one way of finding help. For example, you can start the discussion using sentences like, “I am concerned about you since you have been quiet lately,” or “It worries me to see you….”
As you begin a conversation, assure your friend that you’ll hold in confidence the information they share with you. Let them comfortably talk to you without being coerced.
- Learn Domestic Violence Warning Signs
Most victims try as much as they can to hide that they’re abused for various reasons. Some imagine further abuse if they reveal their abuser.
There are physical signs like black eyes, bruised arms, and red or purple marks on the neck. Emotional symptoms include losing interest in some activities that were once their favorite, being anxious, fearful, and substance abuse. There are also behavioral signs like being withdrawn and distant, isolating oneself from friends and family, and excessively discreet about personal life.
- Respect The Decisions Of The Abused
Be informed that the decision for your friend or loved one to leave or stay in an abusive relationship is theirs to make, so respect it. Help them understand that being abused isn’t in order and is certainly not any of their faults. Let them know that they deserve to be in a healthy relationship. Inform them that they can get help by sharing support hotline numbers like Haven House hotline (716)–884–6000.
- Help The Abused To End The Abusive Relationship Safely
When your friend or loved one discloses that they’re ready to leave the abusive relationship and need help to move out, be prepared to help them develop a safety plan.
Some of the points to have on the plan are:
- A safe place they can go to if they need to leave immediately
- How they can get and keep some money for any emergencies, in case, their credit cards are also tracked.
- Let other people like family members, workmates, and neighbors know about your friend’s situation to help out where they can.
Domestic violence is real. If victims don’t get help as soon as possible, they may commit suicide or be killed by their abuser. Unfortunately, victims rarely reach out for help. Therefore, it’s upon us, friends, family members, or neighbors, to help them by listening to them and creating a comfortable environment to vent and open up. This will help them overcome the fear of leaving abusive relationships and change to be better and healthier.