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 he/she often has unexplained injuries, or the explanations he/she offers don’t quite make sense. Perhaps you’ve noticed that he/she cancels plans at the last minute without saying why or that he/she seems afraid of making his/her partner angry.
If your friend, relative, or neighbor is being abused by his/her partner, then he/she and his/her children need help—and you can be an important lifeline.
Let him/her know you care. Ask direct questions about his/her situation, gently. Give him/her time to talk. Ask again a few days later. Don’t rush into providing solutions.
Listen without judging. Your friend, sister/brother or co-worker believes his/her abuser’s negative messages about himself/herself. He/She may feel ashamed, inadequate and afraid that you will judge him/her. Let him/her know that it’s not his/her fault. Explain there’s never an excuse for physical violence in a relationship—not alcohol or drugs, not financial pressures, depression, jealousy…not anything.
If he/she remains in the relationship, continue to be his/her friend and continue to express your concern for his/her safety. Remember that, for many men/women, leaving an abusive relationship can take time.
Tell him/her that help is available. Encourage him/her to call Alternatives’ 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 she lives outside of this area. He/She will find a caring person who can give him/her support and answer his/her questions.