|What you can do
A Bystander, Relative or Friend
If you know or suspect someone is being abused. There are things you can do.
Let them know you are concerned about what you see (give examples of what you have seen)
Listen to them and don't blame them for the problem
Tell them it is not their fault
Let them know you are concerned for their safety (suggest they develop a safety plan)
Give them information about community programs
Allow them to make the difficult decisions they need to make related to their relationship (each of us makes different kinds of decisions at a different pace)
Let them know there are options
Know that they are embarrassed and ashamed, guilty or confused
Recognize that it takes a lot of courage to get support, ask for help or confide the intimate details of their relationship with someone else
Be patient as they consider their challenges and the pathway to their future
Leave the door open for them to speak with you many times as they decide what to do
Parent of a teen
There may be red flags that can provide a hint the relationship your child is having is not a safe or healthy one. Talk to your child about what you see. A jealous boyfriend who is possessive sometimes is flattering to the girl ("He loves me so much").
The boyfriend/girlfriend calls constantly
Your child always chooses to be with the partner
Your child refuses to participate in any family events
Your child's wardrobe changes (the boyfriend tries to dictate what she wears)
Your child gives up on other friends
Your child is often fighting, crying when she is talking with her boyfriend
Your child seems to have unexplained bruises
Your child violates curfew often (sometimes the fighting or controlling makes it difficult to meet family expectations)
Create a supportive workplace environment
Develop a workplace policy to make victims feel safe
Provide supervisor training
Make materials available to those who may need it (hang posters in the restroom)
Provide support when it appears to be needed
Some things for victims to think about:
Not all domestic violence situations involve physical abuse. Domestic violence is about power and control. As a victim, you may suffer tremendous psychological abuse involving manipulation and control, without ever having been hit.
You don't have to face the abuse alone. It is normal for victims to feel isolated, afraid, embarrassed and even guilty. But many organizations are out there to help you.
If you decide to leave the abusive relationship, remember that leaving is not an event, it's a process, one that can unfold over months.
If you feel unsafe, call 911.
What do you do if a woman confides in you about abuse?
Respect her pace and be patient
Support the decisions she makes for herself. Help her make plans, but let her make the decisions
Take her fears seriously
Don't blame her for the abuse. Remember that her feelings about her partner are probably mixed. If you express too much anger at him, she may feel the need to defend him
Listen without judging
Explain that violence in a relationship is never acceptable
Provide her with information about local resources
She may need financial assistance, help finding a place to live, a place to store her belongings or help in caring for pets. She may need assistance to escape
Contact your local domestic violence program for advice and guidance
If she remains in the relationship, continue to be her friend while at the same time firmly communicating to her that she and her children do not deserve to be in the violent situation
What you can do to fight domestic abuse
Raise public awareness
Invite speakers to groups you belong to
Read about the subject
Talk to your friends, family and neighbors
Volunteer at a local program
Make a contribution to a local domestic violence program (time, goods, money, services, cell phones)
Buy locks, tires, other household items that get destroyed through the violence
Participate in a silent march against domestic violence
Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don't involve degrading or abusing girls and women
Call your legislators
If you suspect abuse, report your concerns (child welfare services, police)
Some red flags
Are you a batterer?
Do you lose your temper often?
Do you criticize or belittle your partner a lot?
Do you accuse your partner of having an affair when she looks at or interacts with other people (men, family, friends)?
Have you pushed, grabbed or shoved your partner?
Are you jealous when your partner has fun with family and friends?
Do you use force to get your own way?
Have you hurt family pets?
Do you demand sex from your partner?
Do you think your partner is afraid of you?
Am I being abused?
Does your partner:
Embarrass you with bad names and put-downs?
Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
Tell you you're a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
Act like the abuse is no big deal, it's your fault or even denies doing it?
Stop you from seeing or talking to friends or family?
Shove you, slap you or hit you?
Threaten to commit suicide?
Threaten to kill you?
Some things for would-be abusers to think about
You cannot blame someone else for your actions
Your children will be affected by what they see or experience in your home
You have a choice to avoid using violence or being verbally abusive
No one wants to live in fear and with abuse
You can develop a better relationship with your lover by learning ways to show respect, share responsibility, and communicate as partners
If you break the law...
You can be arrested
You have to post bail
You have to get an attorney
You have to go to court
You may have to serve time in jail
You may be ordered to a batterers' intervention program
You may be put on probation