How to Help an Abused Friend



How to Help an Abused Loved One

Nov 10, 2009
woman comforting her friend
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According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. This means that the victim could be your coworker, friend or sister, and you might have no idea. We spoke with Susan Armstrong, abuse advocate and author ofAn Invisible Prison: A True Story of Survival, to find out what the signs of domestic violence are, and how you can help someone who might be in danger.

Possible Signs of Abuse

• Bruises, scars or cuts.
• Hesitancy. "If a woman is always reluctant to make any decision without checking with her partner first, this could be a sign that she's being emotionally abused," says Armstrong.
• Withdrawal from the familiar. Look out for signs of your loved one isolating herself from friends or family.
• Sudden changes in behavior.
• Low self-esteem or depression.

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How to Help an Abused Loved One

1. Find the Right Approach
Broach the subject indirectly, says Armstrong. Start a conversation that creates an open, nonjudgmental space. If you do this, your friend will likely feel comfortable enough to share what's been going on. If you are too direct, you may push her away or cause her to become defensive.

2. Provide a Shoulder
Remember: You are not there to judge. You should be there to listen, be open and supportive.

3. Become Knowledgeable
Research domestic violence hotlines, shelters or centers in your area so you can gently provide information about options.

4. Be Ready to Help Your Loved One Walk Away
If your friend or loved one wants to leave, do whatever you can to help. Armstrong suggests going to the closest shelter for abused women. Call the shelter first to make arrangements. You'll want to find a time when your friend's abuser is occupied and arrange to pick her up and drive her to the shelter, which often have security on site.

5. Avoid Offering Your Home
Feel free to give food, clothing and money, but you may want to think twice about offering to take in an abused friend or relative. "It puts an extreme burden on the abused, worrying about your safety, and can create problems for you when the abuser starts calling or knocking on the door," says Armstrong.






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Date: 17.12.2018, 01:14 / Views: 62344