There’s a good chance that you know a friend, relative or colleague who’s being abused.
In many cases, the signs of abuse are there, but the victim suffers in silence. This can make it harder to offer support without being intrusive, adding to the culture of silence that enables abusers.
The life of an abuse victim can be isolating and filled with fear, which is why you should probably reach out and offer help instead of waiting to be asked. Sometimes, the simple act of reaching out and letting your loved know that you are there for them can provide tremendous relief.
There are also many other simple ways to help victims of women abuse. If you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, here are a few ways you can support them:
Whenever someone shares their problems, many people’s first impulse is to offer advice. As well-intentioned as this might be, it causes more harm than good when it comes to gender-based violence. Unless you are trained to do so, counselling an abuse victim is not the way to go. All you need to do is listen without passing any judgment.
Ask How You Can Help
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the issue of gender-based violence. Each case of women abuse has its own set of unique circumstances and will require solutions tailored for that particular incident. This is why it’s essential to ask victims what kind of help they’re going to need. Once you’ve confirmed that someone is indeed being abused, the best course of action would be to ask them how you can be of assistance.
Encourage and Empower
The harm caused by abusers isn’t limited to bruises and scars. Emotional abuse usually accompanies physical violence. One of the most devastating effects of emotional abuse is the feeling of hopelessness it creates in victims.
Many victims find it hard to imagine a life outside the clutches of their abuser. Words of encouragement can go a long way in helping a victim hold on to hope.
Society often causes victims to shoulder the blame for the abuse they’ve endured. The best way to encourage an abuse victim is to create a non-judgmental environment where they can share their experiences and emotions without being looked down on.
When someone you know is being abused, you’re probably going to want to help whichever way you can. You may have your own ideas on what kind of help is needed, but you might not be on the same page as the person you’re trying to assist.
You can’t go wrong with listening, asking and offering words of encouragement. And if all else fails, refer your loved one to anti-abuse organisations.
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