Whether it’s your mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend or anyone else, it’s painful to know that a woman in your life—a woman you care about—is being abused. Or maybe you aren’t sure she’s being abused but have noticed things that make you wonder.
What should you know
Bumps and bruises are the most obvious, but not the only signs of abuse. Other indicators include withdrawn behavior, nervousness, lack of eye contact, carelessness about personal appearance, and difficulty with communication or inability to communicate. If the male partner starts making all the telephone calls to family, school, work and so on, this can also be a clue.
In some cases, none of the above applies. The woman may appear to be acting normally even though abuse is taking place behind the scenes.
What you should do...and shouldn't
- Don’t judge. Instead, be available if she wants to talk. Keep lines of communication open.
- Believe her if she says she’s being abused. Assure her she’s not to blame. Remind her you care about her and her safety and you will help her.
- Recognize your responsibility to be observant and take appropriate action. If you want advice about the specific situation that concerns you, call us any time at 905-684-8331.
- Call police if you feel that something is seriously wrong. If you fear this will make the situation worse, call us at 905-684-8331 for guidance.
- Give her our number, 905-684-8331, and urge her to call us, even if only to gain insight about her situation. All of our services are free and confidential and we truly care about the women we help.
- Offer to help her with immediate medical or personal needs.
- Offer to play a role in her Safety Plan. (This could involve providing emergency shelter or transportation and safeguarding pre-packed luggage, documents and/or money that she would need in an emergency.)
- Give her time to make her own decisions.
- Respect her wishes and her confidentiality.
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There is help. There is hope. There is a future.