Are you worried a friend or Family member may be involved in an abusive relationship?
Most domestic violence victims feel alone and confused as a result of the abuse.
Victims often feel they have nowhere to turn — they may worry no one will believe them, they may blame themselves for the abuse, and they may fear their spouse/partner will hurt them, their children or their pets if they reveal the abuse to anyone outside their home.
They and you may feel helpless but there are steps you can take to help. Each of us has the power to reach out to someone we love and tell them that abuse is not their fault. Love shouldn’t hurt. And safety is possible.
Being aware of the signs is the first step in getting help or offering support to someone who may be at risk. Some of the signs of domestic abuse are:
Fear of one’s spouse/partner or of ending the relationship
Threats of violence against the partner, the partner’s children, or people the partner loves
Unexplained bruises or injuries
Increased or unexplained absences from work
Harassing phone calls at work or at home
Withdrawal/social isolation from friends, Family or fellow service members
Many people are uncomfortable raising an issue they think is none of their business, or they’re afraid that revealing suspicions will increase the risk of abuse or adversely affect a service member's career. But domestic abuse can be a matter of life and death. Here are ways you can offer support.
Show your concern. Let the person know you’re ready to listen and help. Encourage the person to seek medical attention for any injuries.
Offer information on support resources. Encourage them to contact the Fort Bragg Victim Advocate Hotline at 322-3418 to speak with a victim advocate.
Call 911 if they are in immediate danger of assault or physical injury.
Remind them of the impact of domestic abuse on children. Whether or not they physically experience violence, children living in violent households suffer emotional and psychological damage.
Be there for the person. A victim of domestic abuse may need you to make phone calls, go with him or her to the police or help with childcare while working out a safety plan. Although you can't do it all, ask and do what you can to help.
Respect and support the person who chooses to stay. A victim often returns to an abuser several times before leaving for good. Your continued help, support and encouragement are vital.
Remember: Simple actions can help protect victims. See the signs. Say something!