Sanctuary for the Abused
Monday, March 26, 2007
When someone that you know and care about is being battered by their partner or spouse it can leave you feeling frightened, frustrated, sad, and helpless. It is often difficult to understand why your friend may not be willing to leave their partner, but there are some things you can do to help your friend.
Be supportive, not judgmental
She may have hidden the abuse for a long time because of shame, fear, religious beliefs, love, or hope that things would change. Listen to her if she wants to talk. It may be difficult for you to hear but she needs to be able to tell someone that will believe her.
Do not blame her for the violence, put her down or ridicule her for not leaving
The violence is not her fault. Her abuser is responsible for his actions. He will do anything in his struggle for power and control. There are many barriers to leaving that she may be facing. She may have stayed because of financial reasons, fear that he wont let her go (an abuser often will threaten to kill her if she leaves), or fear for the safety of the children (he may even threaten to harm or kill the children). Offer her your understanding.
Tell her about community resources
She may not know what help is available. You can tell her about The Lighthouse and ask her to call. Tell her the staff at The Lighthouse can help her in many ways, including safe shelter, counseling, court advocacy and help understanding legal issues.
Let her know that she is not alone.
Victims are often isolated from family and friends by their abuser. Let her know that you care and don't give up on her even if she hasn't decided to leave him. There are many barriers to leaving that she may be facing.
Help her discover her options
Because of the abusers control and her isolation she may not feel that help is available to her. She may have lost hope of getting out of her situation, lost her self- esteem, and forgotten her strengths. Remind of her strengths, talents, and skills. Help her gain information about her options.
Talk to her about planning for her safety and the safety of her children
Remember, do not talk to her in the presence of her abuser about her options or safety issues and help her to make sure that he will not find any of the information.