Talking about abuse can make a huge difference though. Simple conversations can really help reinforce a victim’s sense of identity and self-confidence, two things we know can be hard to come by. Let them talk about the abuse when they want to, listen to them, but allow them to talk about other things as they choose. Remember they were your friend or relative before you ‘knew’ – so let them be free to stay your friend and not just be defined as a ‘victim’.
Finally, if in doubt about what would help, ask them. Countless women we support tell us what a difference it makes being asked what they want, rather than having help ‘imposed’ on them. The journey out of domestic violence can take a long time and involve a whole range of things from the psychological to the practical. (more…)