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