A family member, friend, or co-worker who is being abused needs your support. Tell them that you see what is happening and that you are concerned about their safety. If you see that they are being abused and it appears they’re not recognizing it or are denying it, you might be able to help them see that the behavior is not acceptable or normal. The victim may be very uncomfortable talking about the situation or acknowledging the danger. Be supportive and patient, and inform them of available resources.
Sojourn’s hotline can be of service to friends and family of victims as well as the victims themselves. Ultimately, of course, people must be allowed to make their own decisions, and it is not unusual for a victim to stay in an abusive relationship or to return to the relationship several times after leaving it. If you become angry or frustrated, you might further isolate victims and keep them from turning to you in the future. You can help by continuing to be supportive and non-judgmental, and to be available to help and to listen when they need you.
You might be able to assist a friend, co-worker or family member who is being abusive by drawing attention to the behavior and telling the person that it’s not right, that it makes you uncomfortable, and that you see the effect it is having on the person’s partner. The abuser may not listen or may not understand, but all of us need to say clearly that domestic violence is never acceptable, even if our concern puts our friendship with that person at risk. The batterer could end up hurting a partner, destroying the relationship, or going to jail. Since you care, it is your business to say something.
For further guidance, call the Sojourn Hotline at 310-264-6644.