If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating — telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it — keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.
Here is how to support them:
- Ask if something is wrong
- Express concern
- Listen and validate
- Offer help
- Support his or her decisions
- Wait for him or her to come to you
- Judge or blame
- Pressure him or her
- Give advice
- Place conditions on your support
Talk to the person in private and let him or her know that you’re concerned. Point out the things you’ve noticed that make you worried. Tell the person that you’re there, whenever he or she feels ready to talk. Reassure the person that you’ll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and let him or her know that you’ll help in any way you can.
Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help to get out, yet they’ve often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.
Call 1-888-DV-LINKS or The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or your local law enforcement (IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 911).