Being in an abusive relationship can sometimes feel like a slow death. You may not think you can help because you aren’t a trained expert, but YOU CAN HELP!
Provide immediate intervention steps with CPR:
Compassion: Abuse starts very slowly. Understand it is very complex to love someone and later find they are an abuser
Comment: Open the door. Depending on what you suspect or observe….
“I notice you seem upset when ‘he’ calls, or is around.”
“I’m concerned about you and your children’s safety”.
“This is what happened to someone I know”…(my story)
Connect: “I’m a good listener if you ever want to talk.”
Complex: There isn’t one easy pat answer. Understand the many pressures and that leaving isn’t always an option. Leave judgement out.
Patience: You are reaching out. Don’t expect your hand to be grabbed immediately.
Provide Support: As you wait, be available as a sounding board, establish a rapport, be a friend, help her understand healthy interactions, and what they look, sound and feel like.
Protect: Protect her story and her life by keeping it confidential! If you suspect danger is imminent or immediate encourage a call to a hotline, or call yourself to gather helpful information on how to handle it. Remember it is not up to you to make her ‘do’ anything but to help her understand she has options and support her.
Power: As in empower. Leave the power squarely in her court. She already has someone telling her what to think and do. Help her get her legs back under her by encouraging her to take the reins on her life.
Resources: Offer resources such as Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE or local DV organization
Reassure: No one is going to force her to do anything. A call is just a call until she decides what she wants to do. She’s just gathering information on her options.
Respect: Respect her choices. They may not be the same choices you would make.
Refer: When she is ready, refer therapists, attorneys, and other resources to help her navigate the complicated maze of leaving her relationship SAFELY.
Remember: She’ll need ongoing support, especially if she shares children with her abuser. Many times the initial support falls by the wayside and isolated, she will be more emotionally vulnerable to her abuser. Keep in touch.
YOU JUST SAVED A LIFE !!!!
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