According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women and one in seven men will be victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetimes. This is a staggering statistic, one that shows just how prevalent this problem is.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, it's important to know that there are people who care and who want to help. Here are five ways you can support victims of domestic violence.
1. Believe them. One of the most important things you can do for someone who has been a victim of domestic violence is to believe them. Too often, victims are not believed or are blamed for the abuse they've suffered. Let your friend or loved one know that you believe them and that it wasn't their fault.
2. Listen to them. Sometimes, victims just need someone to listen to them. They may not be ready to talk about what happened, but letting them know that you're there for them can make a world of difference. Just being there to lend a supportive ear can be incredibly helpful.
3. Help them develop a safety plan. If your friend or loved one is in an abusive relationship, help them develop a safety plan so they can get out safely if necessary. This may include things like having a packed bag ready at all times or having a relative or friend they can go to if things get really bad.
4. Support their decisions. It's important to remember that victims of domestic violence are in control of their own lives and their own decisions. If they choose to stay in the relationship, don't judge them or try to tell them what to do—just support their decision and be there for them if they need you.
5. Get help from professionals. There are many organizations that exist specifically to help victims of domestic violence, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233). These organizations can provide additional resources and support, so don't hesitate to reach out if you need help getting started.
Remember, if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you are not alone. There are people who care and who want to help—you just have to reach out for help when you're ready. These five tips are just a starting point; if you need more information or assistance, please don't hesitate to seek out us or local organizations in your area.