Over the last couple of years I have seen more and more campaigns popping up in regards to stopping the cycle of abuse. There are plenty of resources out there if you do not know where to start. No More is a huge one, that has been supported by many celebrities, and high profile citizens. The very first step to take is to take action. If you feel someone you know and love is struggling with abuse, don’t ignore the signs, speak to them, help them to heal and break through. Once the cycle begins, it becomes an infection that will destroy everyone it comes in contact with. It is time for the world to heal. We must do it together.
You may be saying to yourself:
“What are the Signs?”
“I don’t know what to do or say to them.”
“It’s not my problem, let his/her family deal with it.”
“Why should I get involved?”
(NFL Domestic Violence Ad Played During Superbowl)
These are some of the things that we will talk about in this article. I am not a professional, and I do not pretend to be. However, I have spent the majority of my life trying to understand why people behave the way they do. I am drawn to people that seem to be different than most. I desire to reach out to them and lift them up, to be there for them and to try to understand their struggle as they see it. Through the years, I’ve learned that these strange, or unusual people, have a story to tell. Many of which, don’t want to for fear of being criticized, put down, or worse yet being victimized yet again. Many of them do not trust people, due to a combination of abuse, and lack of true compassion, care and understanding. Unfortunately these individuals are often taken advantage of, and are prone to repeat victimization. Unless we humans work together to accept and heal the damage that has been created by those before us, we may never see a better humankind.
Some Warning Signs of Abuse Are:
- Controls what you do, whom you see, where you go, calls you names, and/or puts you down
- Threatens and/or makes you feel ashamed, isolated, wrong, stupid, scared, worthless, or crazy
- Punishes you by withholding affection
- Isolates you from friends or family
- Makes you feel guilty for spending time with someone else
- Continually tracks your whereabouts by cell phone, pager, text messaging or GPS system
- Uses your personal history against you
Find More at: Warning signs
Some Things You Can Do to Help:
- Talk to the person you think is being abused, but only when her partner is not around. Approach her in a non-blaming, non-judgmental, and understanding way. Tell her she is not alone and that there are many women like her in similar situations.
- Say things like “I am worried about you and your safety” or “I’m concerned about the safety of your children.” If the person does not respond or minimizes your concern, respect it in the moment. But try again a few days or weeks later.
- Offer to be helpful. Ask what would be helpful to them. A victim/survivor is in the best position to judge her needs especially from a safety standpoint. Her decisions should be her own.
- Offer to listen.
- Use supportive language.
- Don’t say bad things about the abusive person. Don’t lament that she got involved with this person. This “blames the victim.”
- Don’t say, “I would leave the relationship if I was in your situation.”
- Remind the person that they deserve to be happy and healthy in their relationship.
- Remind the person that no one should treat them in a hurtful manner, and they deserve to be treated well. Tell them domestic violence is a crime.
- Use your local resources. Contact your local domestic violence agency for help in dealing with the situation.
- Provide the person with resource information like the number of a domestic violence hotline or agency.
- Be patient. Allow her to make her own decisions. You may want the person to leave the relationship, but it has to be her decision. She might not leave right away.
- Stay in her life by being supportive and by creating a safe space for her to talk about her situation.
The worse thing that you can do is to shut out a victim, and make them feel totally and completely helpless. It is too often the case that after a suicide, or a tragedy, is when we notice the warning signs. At which point it is too late. If you or someone you Love is experiencing any form of abuse, please do not hesitate, Reach out today. Help is closer than you think, and is available just about anywhere.
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