Sometimes all we need is to feel heard, to know that someone sees us, and to know we are not going crazy. When you find yourself in a situation of abuse, you end up losing sight of what’s real and what’s not, so when you are able to open up and share this with someone, it’s a ray of hope in your life.
If you are that friend to whom someone has opened up, here are several tips on how to continue helping. It’s a vital time when an abused person starts sharing and opening up about her situation.
- Listen to her, sometimes all we need is someone to hear us, and that does enough healing
- Even though you want to tell her what’s “best” for her, try to understand she may not be in a situation where she will listen to you, so be careful on what you say so she doesn’t shut down
- Don’t try to force her to leave the relationship, because she may not be ready for that
- Acknowledge that it takes courage to talk about this experience of abuse
- Let her know that nothing she says or does justifies her abuser’s behavior, no one deserves to be mistreated
- Ask her if she has suffered any physical harm, and if she has ask her if she wants you to go with her to the hospital
- Help her plan safe strategies to leave the abusive situation
- Get informed on the different organizations that help women in these situations, and be ready to tell her about them when she is ready to take these steps
- You can talk to her about the different types of abuse without saying that is what she is experiencing, allow her to identify by herself the situation she is in
- If she is ready to report the situation to the police, offer to go with her in this process
- Don’t urge her to leave this situation if she is not ready, help her take the steps she needs
- Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation by helping her
- Contact a professional if you feel things are getting worse
Anyone can be a victim of abuse no matter age, gender, or philosophy of life, no one is exempt. Abusers are all around us, let us not fall victims of circumstance but rise together, strong and united.