What Can I Do?
You may suspect
that abuse is happening to someone you know. You may feel that you shouldn't
get involved or that you couldn't make a difference anyway. But you can make a difference and you could even save
someone's life. You can help and you should.
Start here ...
This is where it
all begins. If you simply understand, you've taken a giant step forward. Do
away with judgement and criticism. Don't question why she stays or how she got
there in the first place. It doesn't matter. Simply recognize it and accept it.
And know that abused women rely on neighbours, friends, and family for help,
support, guidance, and safety. You can be one of those people.
Listen to her. Believe her. Let her talk while
you listen with an open mind.
Give her clear messages to help her understand
- abuse is not
- it is not her
- her abuser is
responsible for his own actions
are her safety and the safety of her children
- help is
Share what you know. Help her develop a safety
plan, which involves identifying the steps needed to increase safety and
preparing for the possibility of further violence. Learn how at http://www.shelternet.ca/en/women/making-a-safety-plan/
Help her find local support services for women
in crisis at http://www.wawg.ca/pages/getting-help . Shelters are listed at http://www.wawg.ca/pages/find-a-shelter. Understand that you may need to go with
Support her through this process. Show care,
concern, and empathy by offering to look after her children while she seeks
help and by offering your home as a safe haven.
Respect her wishes. Accept and appreciate her
decisions. She may refuse your help. Don't take it personally. Understand if
she decides to stay.
Learn more about supporting abused women and
talking to men who are abusive. Educate yourself by visiting http://www.neighboursfriendsandfamilies.ca/ Neighbours, Friends and Families is a
campaign to raise awareness about woman abuse. The campaign can even help you
understand the most effective way to talk to an abusive man, which is a key
part of preventing violence against women. Visit http://www.neighboursfriendsandfamilies.ca/eng/talktomen.php to feel confident about talking to an
abusive man about his behaviour.
And remember, this could be a matter of life or death.
So please, don't be a bystander.
Understand... and then act.