How To Help Someone Experiencing Domestic Violence Or An Abusive Relationship

In India, many people especially women experience domestic violence. Rampant domestic violence in India is a grim reality that we need to come face to face with. While the #metoo movement did a great job of calling our the sexual predators in the industry, but we also need to talk about violence against women that happens inside the four walls of the house.

The question now is, how to help someone you know who is experiencing domestic violence? What if it is one of your friends who confides in you about domestic violence? What if you suspect one of your neighbors is a victim? What if a friend of yours is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship? How do you even talk to these people? We all know for a fact that well-intentioned words of unsolicited advice can hurt people even further, who are already suffering. How to make sure that your words of empathy heal other people’s wounds and even help them to get out of the situation?

Learn The Signs And Try To Understand The Situation

First, we need to understand what is domestic violence. What qualifies for domestic violence? It is a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship used to gain power and control over another person and can take many forms such as threats, coercively controlling all finances, using children as leverage, playing mind games, humiliation and name-calling, and isolation from family and friends.
Warning signs include short temper, possessive behavior, substance abuse, making snide remarks.

Be Patient While Listening

It may so happen with the victim that she/he is not able to gather the courage to open up. Rather than rushing them to tell you or teaching them right or wrong, show compassion because it works. Really listen to their story and don’t jump to conclusions. Offer your friend hope and tell them that you are going to support them no matter what they decide. It would give them some courage to leave the abusive relationship when their family, beliefs etc say otherwise.

However, when you are approaching a friend you suspect is in an abusive relationship, share your observations first and then go on to tell her/him how you would have felt, had you been in her shoes. Then go on to ask if she wants to talk about it and give her assurance that she is not alone and the situation is not her fault.

Pass on relevant resources

Pass on those resources which you think can help her. Learn about those organizations who are helping domestic violence survivors. You can also share with them the details about these 8 organizations which can help them.

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