How to Help an Abused Woman:
Most victims of abuse do not disclose about what is happening in their lives. Some of them do not think that they are being abused. If a woman tells you that she is being abused:
- Believe her.
- Listen to her, do not blame or judge her.
- Tell her that is not her fault and that she does not deserve to be abused.
- Protect her confidentiality.
- Let her know that she is not alone, that you care and want to help her.
- Help her to identify her feelings, strengths and weaknesses.
- Give clear messages, including:
- She did not cause the abuse.
- He didn’t loose the control; he is very much in control and controlling her.
- Wife assault is a crime.
- She can’t change the abuser’s behavior.
- Safety, for herself and her children, is a very important issue.
- Be patient, she needs time to gain strength and make her decisions.
- Encourage her to make her own decisions.
- Give her community resources phone numbers, (e.g. women’s shelter crisis line).
- Share information about abuse.
- Assist her with safety planning. Help her to prepare one in advance or encourage her to talk with professionals about safety issues.
- Understand that a woman may decide not to leave her partner or she may wait longer until she has the resources she needs.
- Respect her decision if she chooses to return to the abuser.
- Offer help (i.e. childcare, transportation, a place to stay) but do not take risks with your own safety.
- Tell her to forgive him and try a little harder.
- Try to talk to the abuser to straighten things out.
- Tell her to stay for the sake of the children.
- Suggest joint marital counseling.
- Tell her what to do, when to leave or when not to leave.
- The most dangerous time for an abused woman is when she leaves or threatens to leave the abusive relationship.
- Only she can make the decisions that are best for her.