Know Someone Who's Being Abused?
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Know Someone Who's Being Abused?

How Family and Friends Can Help Domestic Violence Victims

Escape from an abusive relationship can be a long and difficult road.  Often an offer of help from a friend, family member, or co-worker can be just the kind of support an abused person needs to help change her life.  The victim may not take action immediately, but among women who have successfully ended abusive relationships, many point to a caring comment or offer of help as the basis for their eventual action.

Know the Warning Signs.

All of us should know the warning signs of domestic violence.  Frequent bruises or injuries are perhaps the most commonly recognized signs of physical abuse, but there are other signs you should know.  If you notice several of the following conditions, your suspicion that a friend or family member is being abused may be correct.

  • Our friend seems quiet and withdrawn.  She stops confiding in you.

  • She is often absent from work or has quit her job.

  • You feel uncomfortable around her husband, partner, or boyfriend because he criticizes here, tells her what to do, or makes her account for her time.

  • You rarely see her alone because he is so attentive or demanding of her time.

  • The children seem timid or angelic in his presence.

  • She wears unusually heavy makeup or concealing clothes in warm weather.

  • She wears hats, scarves, or sunglasses at inappropriate times.

  • She isn't talking about her partner anymore.

  • She starts making changes in her appearance or behavior to please her partner.

If you suspect your friend, family member, or co-worker is being abused, keep three fundamental principles in mind:

    1. Remember that there is no single correct way to help your friend; the important thing is that you try.

    2. Try to see the situation from her perspective.  What may seem indecisive and crazy behavior by your standards may be reasonable and necessary to a person living with a controlling partner.

    3. Don't expect change overnight.  You need to give her time to make changes.