Life is filled with many difficult moments, and each of these moments challenges you to find a solution. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that some situations are more intense than others.
For example, how does one deal with a friend suffering from domestic violence? Is there even a right way to help? Well, these were just a couple of questions I asked myself when my mejor amiga was being abused in her marriage.
The reality is that there isn’t a right way to deal with these situations, but one thing is for sure – getting involved can be life-saving.
Here are some things I did to help my friend remove herself from this horrid environment.
Consult the experts
I really didn’t know where to begin, so I did what we are all taught to do now: Google. I Googled domestic violence and was pleased to find a website dedicated to helping victims. This same site also provides information for those who want to help anyone in a relationship that has undergone domestic violence. In fact, you can get on the phone with them or chat with them at any time during the day. Doing this helped me react the way I should have without alarming my friend too much.
Create a safe space
Give them peace of mind and the opportunity to hear them out. Let them know that you are there for them. This means giving them a place to stay and answering their calls.
If you judge someone who is part of a domestic violence abuse, they may shut down. And you don’t want that. You want to ensure that they feel supported somehow and not alone. Be their support system for as long as you can (as long as it doesn’t affect your mental health.)
Urge them to find help, gently
Offer to accompany them to find help. This could be a shelter, a lawyer, or another family member’s home. Should they let you guide them, help them by signing them up for healthcare, food assistance, or anything else you know could benefit their life for the better.
Don’t force anything
You must know that you can’t be their savior; you can’t force them out of the situation. It just doesn’t work. Remember, statistically speaking, it may take around 7-12 times for the victim to leave the situation. And that’s if they ever do. Nevertheless, be patient and continue to hear them out while voicing your concerns in a gentle manner.
There’s no right or wrong way to support a friend in a relationship where abuse is the norm. But know that trying counts for a lot. Now, if you see that things are getting worse by the moment, call the police.