help-a-friend-domestic-abuse

Help A Friend

Helping a Someone Who's Being Abused

One in four women and one in seven men will be victims of domestic abuse during their lifetime. With these staggering numbers, most of us will know a family member, friend, colleague, neighbor or student who is suffering in an abusive relationship. We’re faced with a serious dilemma: How can we safely help someone without intruding or embarrassing them? There are no easy answers. Instead, here are tips for supporting someone in your life who is abused.

Safety First
Remember that domestic violence is a serious crime and abusers can be unpredictable. Avoid unsafe situations and call 911 when danger seems imminent.

Reach Out
Privately and calmly voice your concerns about the relationship and specifically mention that you are worried about their safety. Discuss ways you may be able to help and let them know that you are there for support.

Listen
Your friend or family member may feel embarrassed or ashamed to tell you the whole truth. Help them feel comfortable talking to you by listening patiently. It is important to acknowledge their feelings and to be respectful of their decisions.

Give Support and Encouragement, Not Advice
Offer support and tell them you will be there, regardless of their decisions. Isolation is part of the abusive pattern. Offer to connect them with a local domestic abuse program.

Learn More About the Cycle of Violence & How You Can Help
Call or text Safe+Sound Somerset’s 24 Hour Domestic Abuse Hotline at 866-685-1122 for more information. Understanding the dynamics of the cycle of violence will help you to help others.


Helping a Someone Who's Been Sexually Assaulted

One in three women and one in four men will be victims of domestic abuse during their lifetime. Over 81% of women and 43% of men have experienced some form of sexual harassment and/or assault (Kearl, H. (2018). The facts behind the #metoo movement: A national study on sexual harassment and assault. Stop Street Harassment.). With these staggering numbers, most of us will know a family member, friend, colleague, neighbor or student who is is experiencing or has experienced violence. We’re faced with a serious dilemma: How can we safely help someone without intruding or embarrassing them? There are no easy answers. Instead, here are tips for supporting someone in your life who is abused.

Believe Them!
By believing your loved one when they disclose victimization to you, you are validating their experience and their emotions. Take what they say and react accordingly – tell them it is not their fault and ask how you can support them. Avoid asking them if they are sure about what is happening. It is not your job right now to be a factfinder.

Safety First
Remember that domestic violence and sexual assault are serious crimes and perpetrators can be unpredictable. Avoid unsafe situations and call 911 when danger seems imminent.

Reach Out
Privately and calmly voice your concerns to your friend and specifically mention that you are worried about their safety. Discuss ways you may be able to help and let them know that you are there for support.

Listen
Your friend or family member may feel embarrassed or ashamed to tell you the whole truth. Help them feel comfortable talking to you by listening patiently. It is important to acknowledge their feelings and to be respectful of their decisions.

Give Support and Encouragement, Not Advice
Offer support and tell them you will be there, regardless of their decisions. Isolation is part of the abusive pattern. Offer to connect them with a local domestic abuse and sexual assault program like Safe+Sound Somerset. The advocates on our 24/7 Hotline will provide support and safety planning, and inform your loved one of possible steps they can take on their journey to healing.

Take Care of Yourself
It can be hard to care for someone who has experienced violence. Call or text our 24/7 Helpline at 866-685-1122 for support and information. Our trained advocates can also talk through the situation more with you – understanding the dynamics of violence will help you to help others.