Victims of abuse often stay with their abusers for many reasons. As an outsider to the relationship, you may not understand their reasons, but you can help them get out of the relationship when they are ready.
Keep in mind that pushing a victim of abuse into taking action they aren’t ready to take can intensify their feelings of helplessness. However, if the victim is in immediate danger, it may require more action or support on your part. If someone you know is being abused, use the tips below to help them find the freedom and dignity they deserve.
1. Providing Financial Support
One of the reasons many victims stay in abusive relationships is because they have no financial means to make it on their own. This is a situation done purposefully by the abuser to control the victim.
To help a victim of abuse escape, you could offer to give them a loan or help them secure a small cash loan from a lender so they can get out and begin a life on their own.
2. Talk with the Victim Privately
It’s very common for victims of abuse to feel confused, depressed, sad, and upset. It’s important to let them know that these feelings are normal and that they are justified in feeling this way.
You can offer support and understanding by talking with the victim and encouraging them to speak openly about how they are feeling. Find a private place to talk and ask open-ended questions like, “You’re looking a little down. Do you want to talk about it?” to get them talking and let them know they can count on you for support.
3. Don’t Ignore Obvious Signs of Abuse
If someone you know shows obvious signs of physical abuse, don’t ignore it. While you can’t force a victim to leave an abusive relationship before they’re ready, you can ask them about any injuries you see. If they brush the injury off as an accident, let them know you don’t think that’s the case and tell them you’re available to talk about it with them if they want.
4. Take Action
Be prepared to help the abused person take action whether they stay in the relationship or not. Offer to help them file a restraining order, find an attorney, join a support group, file assault charges, or plan an escape.
Help the victim make a safety plan and offer to be the person they can trust to hold important documents or items and assist them in staying safe.
5. Point the Victim in the Right Direction
Since many victims of abuse have a hard time leaving their abusers, you can point the person being abused in the right direction by providing them with free resources for support and advice. Many communities and even some employers offer valuable resources to victims of abuse. Encourage your abused friend or family member to seek out these resources and to get counseling as it will help them see their value and increase their self-confidence.
Unfortunately, many victims of abuse feel powerless to help themselves and often don’t see a way out of their abusive relationships. While you can’t push a victim of abuse to take action before they’re ready, you can provide the support and knowledge they need in order to make smarter decisions about their lives. Use the tips above to help someone you know in an abusive relationship.