You can be a great source of support and information for a friend or family member.
Do you think you know someone who is abused?
Does she have many non specific complaints
Is she unhappy or anxious but doesn’t say why
Does she take pills or alcohol more than normal
Do you see bruises or does she move as if she is hurt
Does she work very hard at housework, at her marriage, at catering to her partner
Does she appear tired, or hopeless
Is she becoming more isolated from you
Does she make many last minute or trivial excuses not to see you
What you can do to help an abused woman?
Ask her if she fears him, if he threatens her, checks up on her all the time
Listen and let her talk about her feelings
Give clear messages that:
Violence is never okay or justifiable
The safety of the woman and her children is always the most important issue
Woman abuse is a crime
She does not cause the abuse
She is not to blame for her partner’s behaviour
Apologies and promises will not end the violence
She is not alone
She is not crazy
Abuse is not loss of control; it is a way of controlling another person
Talk with her about what she can do to plan for her and her children’s safety.
Click here to go to “Creating a Safer Environment”
Encourage her to make her own decisions
Help her find the good things about herself and her children
Help her to come to her own decisions about what to do
Know the key resources in the community and how to contact them
Help her identify her options and the consequences
Get her a copy of a community resource list
Accompany her if she needs your support
Respect her confidentiality
Validate her feelings
An abused woman needs support and encouragement in order to make choices that are right for her; however, there are some forms of advice that are not useful and may even be dangerous for her to hear.
Don’t tell her what to do, when to leave or when not to leave.
Don’t tell her to go back to the situation and try a little harder.
Don’t try to rescue her by finding quick solutions.
Don’t suggest you try to talk to her husband to straighten things out.
Don’t tell her she should stay for the sake of the children.
Don’t lose patience if she leaves, then returns to her abusive partner. She still needs your support.
Don’t be judgemental. Show her that you support her no matter what she decides.