Do you know someone suffering at the hands of domestic violence or involved in an abusive relationship?
It is hard to know that someone you care about is dealing with an unhealthy relationship and there is not a whole lot that you can do. You may not be able to fix the abusive relationship or repair the damage that has been done by the but, as a friend, there are ways to help stop the domestic violence.
Be There – No, it won’t be easy. Even knowing that the abusive relationship in unhealthy the victim often times will choose to stay with their abuser. This is very common with domestic violence situations and not an easy thing for a loved one to handle. But friendship is important and many times is one of the things that can lead to a victim seeking help to stop domestic violence.
However, when you have a friend that is dealing with situations such as an abusive relationship try to be there for them if they need to talk or need a shoulder to cry on. The last thing they need is to lose their closest friends and feel completely alone with no one to turn to.
You can use your position as a friend to talk to them about their options; legal, personal and emotional and to try and urge them to get out and seek help. Just keep in mind that pushing them hard to do something is not usually beneficial and can cause them to pull away from you so be gentle, but persistent.
Write it down – Keep a journal or log of any abusive incidents that you hear about or witness and log the date, time and type of abuse that has occurred. A good record can come in handy if legal help is ever needed or sought.
Information – Pick up or print off any information regarding get out of abusive relationships or how to stop domestic violence that you can find. You should be looking for information such as personal accounts from other victims of domestic violence; this will show them that their abusive relationship is not unique. You also want information regarding support groups and resources such as shelters for victims of domestic violence.
Take your friend out away from the house and show them the information that you have obtained and just ask them to read through it. Never give or leave information anywhere the abuser may come across it which includes never using a computer to research information in the home of the abuser. This is important with dealing with an abusive relationship situation of any degree.
When you present someone in an abusive relationship with information like this some victims will take this as an intrusion. That is a risk you have to be willing to take if it could possibly open their eyes to getting away from their abusive relationship.
Stay safe – Most importantly in situations like this you need to make sure that you never put yourself or the victim in harms way. Do what you can, always keeping the mindset that you are here to help stop domestic violence not to aggravate an already unhealthy situation or put yourself in a position to be harmed. Let the authorities handle any situation which is out of control or puts you or the victim at risk.
Some resources that may be helpful to you and your loved one on how to deal with and stop domestic violence are OVC- Domestic Violence Resources, Domestic Violence Notepad, NewHorizons Shelter Resources and Battered Women’s Justice Project.
Sources and additional info:
American Bar Association http://www.abanet.org/domviol/statistics.html
Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United Stateshttp://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/183781.htm
In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. In recent years, an intimate partner killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims.http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/ipv01.pdf