When someone you care about is a potential victim of domestic violence, it can be not only be devastating, but it can truly make you feel helpless. It is important to remember that it is the victim's choice to stay with or leave their abuser and the victim knows the abuser and what they are capable of better than you. Everyone is the expert of their own story and the best thing we can often do, is to listen.
Do you have a friend or family member who:
- Is put down by their partner in front of others? This can be about anything from how they dress to the choices they make.
- Is always avoided situations that would potentially make their partner angry?
- Makes excuses for their partner's behavior?
- Has a partner who is extremely jealous and possessive?
- Has only a few close friends and/or has withdrawn from existing friends and family?
- Has symptoms of depression that coincides with the relationship?
- Attempts to hide bruises with makeup or clothing?
- When talking to the victim, please do not shame or put blame the victim, instead, empower them to make their own decisions. There are many reasons why the victim stays and it is your job to be a support system, rather than create more anxiety for the victim.
- Offer support in their decisions, especially if they decide to stay or leave the relationship.
- Encourage them to get more involved with friends and family, or anything positive that is outside of the relationship.
- Help them develop a safety plan.
- Do not confront the abuser.
- Educate yourself on the cycle of abuse.
- Allow for your loved one to have open and honest conversations with you.