Ways to Offer Help
If someone you know is in an abusive relationship, here's how to help:
· Approach the person at a time and place that is safe and confidential.
· Start by expressing concern (i.e., I am concerned someone may be hurting you, and I am worried about your safety.)
· Take the time to listen, and believe what they say.
· Communicate that you care about their safety, that they do not deserve to be hurt, and that the abuse is not their fault.
· Tell them they are not crazy. A person who has been abused often feels upset, depressed, confused and scared. Let them know that these are normal feelings.
· Tell them good things about themselves. Let them know you think they are smart, strong and brave. Their abuser may be tearing down their self-esteem.
· Respect their choices.
· Be patient. Self-empowerment may take longer than you want. Go at their pace, not yours.
· Connect them with the trained staff of the Phoenix House, available 24/7, or offer to accompany them to meet with staff.
· Do not accuse, diagnose, or judge their choices.
· Do not pressure them to leave the abusive relationship. There are many reasons they may be choosing to stay. It is possible their abuser has threatened to hurt them or their children if they try to leave. The abuser may control all of their finances and may have isolated the victim from friends and family, leaving them with very few resources of their own. The abuser may have promised to change.