This is a guest article from Kellie Rock, Sexual Assault Advocate at CLUES.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience some form of physical violence at the hands of their partner. But domestic violence is not limited to physical violence, it can be emotional, verbal, sexual, and even financial. This can seem like an overwhelming number, but in reality everyone can do #1Thing to help end domestic violence by supporting someone they know.
Given these statistics, everyone knows somebody who has experienced domestic violence in their life. But parents, friends, and family members of victims are left with the question: what can I do?
While nobody can force someone to leave a toxic relationship, there are many things you can do to support a loved one who is experiencing domestic violence.
- Listen non-judgmentally
- Let them know about services such as getting an order for protection or signing up for therapy sessions
- Give them encouragement and positive words - abusers break down their confidence, you can help build it back up
- Check-in with them, and ask them when it’s safe for them to talk. A tactic of abuse is to isolate the victim from their support network, so try to help your loved one maintain their network.
- Continue to offer them a safe space as you’re able - let them know they can call you or stay with your when/if the violence escalates (if that is support you’re able to offer them)
- Encourage them to establish financial independence from their abuser
- Offer to connect them with a domestic violence advocate, like the ones at CLUES, who can explain their options and support them through the process
- Remember the journey to healing can be long - support your loved one even after they have left their abusive relationship
You can contact CLUES for more information about our domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy programs by calling 612-746-3500. We also invite you to join us for a Facebook live presentation in Spanish on October 22nd at 10:00 am on the CLUES page to explore this topic further.
Check out the hashtag #1Thing and #UnaCosa on social media to learn more about getting involved in the fight to end domestic violence.