Domestic Violence Part 3: Friends and Family
This is the third in a four part series on my Domestic Violence series. This segment is what family and friends feel and what they have experienced. There are some facts that are also going to disturb a lot of people, because they don’t quite understand the whole vicious cycle of abuse.
People just don’t know what to say or do in instances of abuse. It can be very hard on family and friends to see the victim go back and forth and to show up at their door steps all hours of the day and night, battered. The number one thing is to get the victim and his/her children out safely, make sure that you are safe as well.
In order to do this, you need to talk about it with the victim. Let him/her know that you are aware that the abuse is going on. Build his/her confidence up. Let them know that you are there for them. Don’t judge; just listen and offer all the resources you can to them. The days of not getting involved are long over. You have to be pro-active in circumstances such as these. You have to be supportive of whatever his/her decision will be. Keep in mind that it takes a victim seven times before she leaves the abuser for good. But think about it this way; every time the victim leaves, even if it’s just for a little while, she is building up her courage, her self confidence and her self worth. So imagine it this way; the victim is beat down to nothing and she is lying on the floor. Every time the victim leaves they are building themselves back up, a little at a time, until they are finally standing. Another thing that some people don’t realize is family and friends aren’t always supportive. They might have the attitude as “you made your bed, now lye in it.” Or, they see the possessions, house, car, boat, nice vacations, etc. that the victim has. The friends and family need to look beyond material means and straight into how sad and scary their life truly is. If you know of a victim who doesn’t have the support of family and friends, offer them your support. You might be all they have. Give them back their hope!
I strongly recommend that the victim and her family get counseling. Please make sure that if he/she has children that they receive counseling as well. They are our next generation and we don’t want to carry the abuse on to the next generation.