Adults: How to Support Someone in a Violent Situation
|1) Don’t ignore the signs of abuse. Talk to your friend.
a. But do it privately, discreetly.
b. Don’t put your friend in danger
2) Don’t be judgmental or critical
a. If someone feels you are judging them or critical of them they might not come back to you in the future
a. Sometimes they just need someone to listen to them and let them know that you care
b. Listen to what she is saying between the lines of her words. Listen for ways that you can prepare to help her in the future when she’s ready
4) Point Out Your friends Strengths:
a. Abused people lose sight of their own strengths and abilities
b. Self- esteem is shattered
c. There is no confidence or self- worth left
5) Keep her confidence:
a. Gossip can be deadly in an abusive situation. It will get back to the abuser and the victim will pay the price
b. Isolation is used to control the victim. If she confides in you it is important to keep that confidence. If an abuser believes you are a threat to his control the victim will then be isolated from you and you may not be able to help her the next time.
c. If she doesn’t feel safe talking to you, she won’t be back. It’s all about staying alive.
6) How you can help her BEFORE SHE’S READY TO LEAVE: Keep a notebook or journal of information for when she’s ready for it. You may never get to use it but you can let her know that you are there and the information is there when she’s ready.
a. Contact your local shelter and find out what services are available in your area. Example: who to call in the middle of the night to get her into a shelter. What is the law on filing a protection order.
b. Learn about Domestic Violence. What are the warning signs. What are the effects on the children. Knowledge is power!
c. Find out about housing or social programs that would help her start over. We stay because we don’t see any way out.
d. Devise a safety plan with different scenarios of her leaving.
e. Legal Services: Women are concerned about losing their kids in a custody battle or CPS case.
f. Can you start a savings account and have family members start contributing ? If it’s never needed…you could donate it or use it for something else.
g. Keep some clothing on hand at your house to fit the mother and even the children if possible. It doesn’t have to be much : pajama’s and a single change of clothing. Keep an overnight bag handy if you need to get her to shelter in a hurry.
7) Never put yourself in a dangerous situation with the victim’s partner. Don’t try to mediate or otherwise get involved directly.
8) CALL 911 if you witness an assault.
a. There are women who are praying for help because they are in DEADLY situations and don’t know how to get out on their own.
b. Violence is a crime!