I’m back from my mini hiatus of blogging. Today’s post is going to be different than any of my previous posts.
I was approached by Aneesah (don’t forget to follow her blog, link below) a few weeks ago, and she was interested in doing a guest post on a topic of domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, so she wanted to shed light on this topic.
I’ve never had a guest post on my blog before, but when she approached me, i just couldnt say no! This issue is so important in today’s world, and more people need to be aware of it.
Read on for her post:
—————————————————————————————————————–When in an abusive relationship it can be hard to reach out for help. Many times the victim is hoping the abuse will stop. In the reconciliation stage of the cycle of abuse the victim is convinced it will never happen again. The apology is received and accepted until the tension begins to build up again.
In a previous post I outlined the red flags of abuse when starting a new relationship but there are a few red flags when one is already in an abusive relationship. Many times a victim will go from being a social butterfly to rarely leaving the home. A victim may also have many unexplained bruises or insist on wearing sunglasses indoors. It is also very common for a victim of domestic violence to be very concerned with making sure everything is perfect. A victim will make attempts to control things that can not be controlled and become nervous or afraid when things do not work out as planned. Getting involved sometimes can be a little difficult for outsiders especially when one does not know how to help.
Knowing how difficult it is to get involved I’ve listed several ways to help a friend who is being abused:
- Ask. When a friend is being abused it can be difficult to reach out for help. Simply saying “my partner is abusing me” can be the hardest thing. Approaching your friend in a private setting and simply asking “is everything ok? Are you being abused?” may be a little easier to answer. It may be much easier for a friend to open up about what is going on when being approached in this manner.
- Never ask “what did you do?” a victim of domestic abuse is constantly blaming themselves for what their abuser puts them through. Asking them what have they done to cause the abuse is placing the blame on the victim. There is never a reason for abuse. Never place blame or guilt on a victim of abuse.
- Don’t judge. If a friend is being abused by her partner and hasn’t made an attempt to leave it can be a little insensitive to say “you need to leave”. The victim isn’t at that stage yet, otherwise they would’ve been long gone. The victim may even think there is hope and the abuser will change. Encourage by letting them know it’s NOT their fault and there is a better life without abuse. Remind them that their life matters. Many times a victim of abuse has been bombarded with verbal abuse. They have been told they are worthless and “no one will want” them. Especially if there are children involved. The abuser may esay things like “no one is going to want you with children”. After hearing such garbage on a consistent basis, the last thing a victim of abuse wants to hear is “you’re stupid for staying; I couldn’t do it”. Be supportive and speak kind words. Your reminders of how valuable their lives are will play over and over in their minds when it’s time to make that decision to finally break free.
- Make an anonymous report. If your friend is constantly showing up bruised and making random excuse like “I fell down the stairs” or “walked into the wall” then something may not be right. Also look out for odd behavior that may not be the norm. Victims of domestic violence are living in fear and may be jumpy or in a rush to leave when the abuser calls. Anonymous reports can be made by calling 1-800-799-SAFE(7233). By calling the domestic violence hotline a report can be made without giving a legal name.
- Code word. If your friend has confided in you and finally opened up about the abuse but is not quite ready to leave let them know you are there if needed. Create a code word that is only known by the two of you and let them know if there is an emergency they can call you and state the word. In some cases the abusers will cut all forms of communication and not allow the victim to leave the house unless they are present. So let’s say you see your friend in public with her abuser and they want to alert you to the danger they are in but can’t. A code word would allow you to get help for them; either by calling the domestic violence hotline or 911.
- Safety plan. A safety plan is very useful in times of crisis. Help your friend create a safety plan. This plan can include ways to stay safe while in the relationship and after leaving. Advise your friend to think of a place she can go that not even her abuser knows of. Many women’s shelters provide a safe haven for victims of domestic violence. Becoming familiar with the location of the shelter will be of assistance if necessary.