“You might think that something as simple as talking to a friend about abuse couldn’t possibly make a difference. But it really can. just knowing that someone cares enough to ask about the abuse can break through the wall of isolation that can exist around victims of relationship abuse. If you think a friend or loved one is being abused, talk to her about it. Listen to her. Let her know you care. You don’t have to be an expert. You just need to be a friend.
- Gently ask direct questions about her situation. Give her time to talk. Ask again a few days later. Don’t rush into providing solutions.
- Listen without judging. Often battered woman believes her abuser’s negative messages about herself. She may feel responsible, ashamed, inadequate and afraid she will be judged by you.
- Tell her the abuse is not her fault. Explain that physical or emotional abuse in a relationship is never acceptable. There’s no excuses for it- not alcohol or drugs, financial pressure, depression, jealousy nor any behavior of hers.
- Emphasize that when she wants help, it is available. Let her know that domestic violence tends to get worse and become more frequent with time and that it rarely goes away on its own.
- Explain that relationship abuse is a crime and that she can seek protection from the police or courts as well as help from a local domestic violence program.
- Work with her to identify resources to help her take care of herself, get emotional support and build her self-esteem.
- If she decides to leave her relationship, she may need money, assistance finding a place to live, a place to store her belongings or a ride to a women’s shelter. Think about ways you might feel comfortable helping her.
- If you want to talk with someone yourself to get advice about a particular situation, contact a local domestic violence program.
Once you have brought the subject up, bring it up again. try not to get frustrated if you reach out to a friend and she stays with her batterer or goes back to hi,. Ending any relationship is a process that takes time. Ending a violent relationship is even harder. Usually, the victim fears for her life. She may also want her children to grow up with a father. Perhaps her self esteem is so damaged that she thinks she can’t make it on her own or she believes her abuser when he tells her the abuse is her fault. Or she just wants the violence to end, not the relationship.”