CONVINCE A BATTERED WOMAN TO SEEK HELP
A battered woman lives under constant stress to say, or do, whatever will keep her safe. Since domestic violence is the single largest cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44, it is a serious public health issue. Abused women come from all economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. The abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual. Four million women are assaulted yearly, by partners.
Recognizing the signs of domestic abuse is key. Knowing the dynamics of battered woman's syndrome may help you understand why a battered woman delays seeking help. She may fear being killed, being left homeless, or becoming destitute. Her abuser may threaten harm to her children, other family, or pets. A battered woman is often isolated from family, friends and support and sustains a constant barrage of insults which convince her she is unworthy of a better life. Abusers often control a battered woman's money and transportation. Even if a battered wife is affluent and able to leave, she may fear her husband will use his money and connections to track her down.
Domestic abuse is rarely a single episode and escalates over time, but a battered woman alone must decide to seek help. A battered woman is more at risk of being murdered when leaving an abuser.
Yet, refuge does exist for the battered woman and her children, at domestic violence shelters.
Simply telling a battered woman she doesn't deserve abuse can plant the seeds for a new life. Hearing you confirm she has the right to live violence-free and express her thoughts, feelings, and emotions, might be the first time a battered woman has heard the truth. Your kindness and encouragement to seek help can be the catalyst a battered woman needs to seek out her options, and eventually escape domestic violence.
- Learn the different types of abuse that a battered woman might experience in a relationship.
- Recognize that a friend, co-worker, classmate, and acquaintance of any age can be a battered woman.
- Understand that your words can make a difference. Some battered women have never had anyone express empathy for their situation. You can support a battered woman by saying: "I'm sorry that happened to you. No one deserves to be hit; no one has a right to treat another person that way. The abuse is not your fault."
- Encourage any woman you think might be a domestic violence victim to seek help, while always keeping her safety the first priority.