Several descriptive scenes played in my mind as I contemplated this post. However, due to the nature of what I’m about to talk about – I felt that may be too much for some. So, I’ll leave descriptors out at this point.
Yesterday, I got a text from my daughter. Basically, it read “I need you”. Galvanized, I waited for her call. I’m not going into details, as it’s not my story to share. Let’s just say that an argument resulted in hands being put where they didn’t belong.
Coming from more than one relationship in which there was a question as to whose hands belonged where, I know how she felt in that moment.
I’ve said that to say this… Nobody deserves to be abused. In any way, shape, or form. If you are currently in an abusive relationship, and you need help – please, contact your local battered women’s shelter – now. If you don’t feel safe calling them, call 911 and get help. Nobody blames you. It’s not your fault, and you did nothing wrong. You don’t deserve it, and you never will – nobody does.
Yeah, I know it seems silly to say that to someone being abused doesn’t it? I mean, after all what’s being done to them is a crime. How could they feel guilt about it…
To understand that you must first understand the psychology of the abused woman. In most (not all) cases you will find that she has suffered abuse before, at the hands of a family member – most likely a father, uncle, or sibling.
You will also generally find that these women have little to no self-esteem. In some cases they feel like they’re not worth anything more than what they’ve got; and in those cases this idea is repeatedly reinforced by the abuser.
Most battered women believe that if they can just be good enough the abuse will stop – so they spend all their time trying to be perfect… because they believe that’s how it works. ‘
If this seems disturbing to you… then you’re not alone. And it’s gets worse. Here are some startling statistics:
One in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime.
Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence each year, and between 100,000 and 6 million men, depending on the type of survey used to obtain the data.
Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.
On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.
Scary? I think so.
What can we do to help?
First of all, please pay attention to the signs of abuse in your friends and family. In a lot of cases, these women cry out for help in such small ways that it goes unnoticed, until they’re hospitalized… or dead. By then – it’s too late to be of much help.
The HelpGuide.Org has an awesome guide to help you determine if you’re in a violent relationship. You can find them here.
They also provide the following tips for those outside looking in:
If your friend or family member:
- Seems afraid or anxious to please their partner
- Goes along with everything their partner says and does
- Checks in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
- Receives frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
- Talks about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
Chances are they are being abused in some way.
The following is how you can help:
- Ask if something is wrong
- Express concern
- Listen and validate
- Offer help
- Support his or her decisions
- Wait for him or her to come to you
- Judge or blame
- Pressure him or her
- Give advice
- Place conditions on your support
The last thing a woman in this situation needs is someone to be judgemental or try to advise them on what to do. Listen, help in any way they’ll allow, and be there if they call. Encourage them to get help, but don’t push. Never, ever “abuse” the abuser. This does not endear you to the victim; regardless of what you think, or feel about the abuser – keep it to yourself.
For those of you who are in, or know someone who is in an abusive relationship, help is only a phone call away. Please, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) is the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Have you or someone close to you been the victim of abuse? How did you or they get out? What advice can you give to those dealing with an abusive relationship?