Helping a Victim of Domestic Violence

health, domestic violence, abuse, help, commentary

1 in 4 women are victims of domestic violence. The abused is not the cause of the violent behavior, the victim may feel something she did caused the violence to start. Fear and guilt may be overwhelming her, clouding the ability to make clear decisions. The abuser may have brainwashed her into thinking no one wants to help her because she is not worthy. Even though the victim is being harmed by her partner, she may still feel love for her significant other.

A person in this situation may be too terrified to open up to another person. She may go to work normally and yet have a bruise here or there from time to time. Everyday she goes directly home after work. She may flinch involuntarily at odd times for no apparent reason. This person may need help.

The 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline offers the following suggestions of support:

  • Very patiently speak with her in a quiet, peaceful tone to get her to confide in you.
  • Let her know you approached her out of genuine concern.
  • Be as nonjudgmental as possible.
  • Let the victim speak as long as desired and believe her.
  • Do not make decisions for the victim, be an ear that listens.
  • Help her mentally figure out where to go when she leaves the situation.
  • Acknowledge her strength.
  • Assist her with remembering her support system, family, close friends, etc.
  • Obtain a list of domestic violence shelters, hotlines and other support in the area.

The cycle of abuse is not always predictable. The victim may or may not be aware of the intensity of the situation she is in. Her life may be in danger and she may have put up a mental wall to cope without realizing it. If the woman has children help her to set up a plan of action before leaving. Make sure she understands the severity of the situation. She may have endured the situation for a while for fear of the safety of her children. Set up a code phrase or word she can use in case she can use the phone. He might be standing right beside her as she is speaking, a code will let that be known.

Stop-Domestic-Violence
Advice addressing domestic violence

Emotional abuse is just as harmful as physical abuse. Mental abuse is more difficult to recognize, it leaves no physical scars. As with physical abuse it does present similar feelings of hopelessness within the victim. The abuser may successfully alter the victims thoughts into believing they are the one with the problem.

Safe Horizon States, woman experience more than 4 million physical rapes and assaults and men are victims of about 3 million assaults. Woman are more likely to be murdered by an intimate partner than men. Yearly more than 3 million children witness domestic violence. Domestic violence usually occurs between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Girls who have witnessed abuse have a higher tendency to experience abuse as a teen or adult. Boys witnessing the acts without guidance may grow up to continue the cycle of abuse they experienced. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports domestic violence is the third leading cause of family homelessness. A number to call for help is (llamenos para ayuda) 800-621 HOPE (4673)

 

By Dada Ra
Commentary

Sources

24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline

Help Guide

Safe Horizon

 

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