Whether you know it or not, some of the people in your life may be facing violence at home—a friend, a co-worker, or even a family member. For many reasons, it’s hard for victims to acknowledge they are being abused—especially when the abuser is supposed to be a loved one.
But there are lots of ways you can tell if something is wrong. Perhaps they often have unexplained injuries, or the explanations they offer don’t quite make sense. Perhaps you’ve noticed they cancel plans at the last minute without saying why or they seem afraid of making their partner angry.
If your friend, relative, or neighbor is being abused by their partner, then they and their children need help—and you can be an important lifeline.
Let them know you care.
Ask direct questions about their situation, gently. Give them time to talk. Ask again a few days later. Don’t rush into providing solutions.
Listen without judging.
Your friend, relative, or co-worker believes their abuser’s negative messages about themselves. They may feel ashamed, inadequate and afraid you will judge them. Let them know it’s not their fault. Explain there is never an excuse for violence in a relationship—not alcohol or drugs, not financial pressures, depression, jealousy—not anything.
If they remain in the relationship, continue to be their friend and continue to express your concern for their safety. Remember, for many people, leaving an abusive relationship can take time.
Tell them help is available.
Encourage them to call Alternatives Incorporated’s hotline at (765) 643-0200 or toll-free at (866) 893-9999; or Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence at (800) 332-7385; or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE if they live outside of this area. They will find a caring person who can give them support and answer their questions.