It’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you’re wondering how you can take action, here are 5 ways you can help a victim of domestic or intimate partner violence:
#1 Know the signs.
Here are some red flags that can indicate someone is being abused:
- Their partner puts them down in front of other people
- They are constantly worried about making their partner angry
- They make excuses for their partner’s behavior
- Their partner is extremely jealous or possessive
- They have unexplained marks or injuries
- They’ve stopped spending time with friends and family
- They are depressed or anxious, or you notice changes in their personality
#2 Talk in a safe setting.
Do your best to talk to them in a space they will feel safe talking, and try to avoid anywhere you may be overheard. Remind them you are a safe place and affirm their feelings of fear and confusion. Encourage them that they are brave and strong for talking to someone, and assure you will support them to the best of your ability.
#3 Believe victims.
Abusers often seem normal in public but are abusive in private, so victims often feel no one will believe them. Assure them you believe them, and remind victims abuse is never their fault.
#4 Be understanding.
Understand there are multiple factors in domestic and intimate partner violence. Never pressure them to do something they are not ready for. By pressuring them into something they're not ready for, you may force the victim further into isolation and make it less likely they will ever make changes. Simply be there for them and refrain from judgment.
#5 Connect to resources.
You can help someone in trouble connect with these resources for free assistance, available 24/7, 365 days a year:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- 1−800−799−SAFE (7233)
- Deaf/hard of hearing: 1-855-812-1011 (VP) or 1−800−787−322 (TTY)
- You can also visit their website at https://www.thehotline.org/
- RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline
- 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- You can also visit their website at https://www.rainn.org/
- If they are in immediate danger, call 911.
By being informed about how to help, you can make a difference in the life of a victim of domestic violence. Together we can make a change!