If you suspect someone you know is a victim of domestic violence reach out to him or her. They are in desperate need of a friend. Listen to them, keep what they say confidential, and above all believe them. Give them opportunities to talk about what is going on; ask them questions about bruises you notice or fights you hear about. Let them know they are normal and are right to feel angry and hurt or whatever they may feel. Do not blame them, remember they are a victim; it is the abuser that has the problem. Realize that it is difficult for them to leave. They have the most knowledge about the abuser and they will be the best judge of when to leave, because separation is the most dangerous time for domestic violence victims. Help them to make a safety plan for escape (I will be posting an article soon, in regards to creating a safety plan). I know it may be difficult but try not to bad mouth the abuser or pressure them into leaving. The victim may pull away. This would not be good, as they more than likely are not sharing this information with many people. In order to help them you need to stay in their trust circle. You want to help them rebuild their confidence.
Educate yourself; find as much information as you can on domestic violence. The more knowledgeable you are the better able you are to help them. Get involved. Find ways in which you can help support or improve efforts on behalf of victims. Send letters to your congressional representatives requesting laws to be created, funding to be approved, and for stiffer penalties for abusers. (I will be posting an article with a letter that can be copied and either mailed or emailed to your congressional representative in the near future.). Most domestic violence programs and shelters are non-profit and are dependent upon donations from the communities they serve. You can help them by getting the word out, by volunteering or by donating. They can always use common need item donations as well, such as baby supplies, personal hygiene supplies, paper, food, medical supplies, cell phones, etc. Let other’s know about domestic violence and the harm it imparts. Ask a victim advocacy agency to give a presentation at your work or church, let children know that violence toward women is not acceptable, and if you are a witness to abuse, call 911 and be a witness for the cops. Do all that you can and are able to. You never know, your efforts might save or change a life for the better.
Do whatever you can to let people know that domestic abuse is too prevalent and needs to be stopped. Be an advocate. Be a leader. Be a friend.