It's a tough position to be in when you know someone's being hurt because you never really know if you'll keep the victim safe, or anger the abuser and get the victim hurt even further. It has to be one of the scariest times in a persons life, knowing someone who's being hurt, but pondering whether to tell or not.
If you're in this situation and you have a friend or family member that is being abused, please consider these few things.
- Have they spoken to you about the abuse?
- Do they show signs of abuse such as bruising, wearing sunglasses inside, and/or emotional illness.
- Have they stopped talking to you as often as they used to? Have they stopped talking to you alltogether?
- Have you spoken with the victim about abuse and they are in denial or ask you to be quiet because they're afraid the abuser will find out they're discussing it?
- Do you see signs of abused children? Does the abused adult have children that are showing signs as well? Are they more reserved, quiet, do they seem disheveled and neglected in any way?
Please, whatever you do, take note of these things. If you have the chance, take pics of your friends bruises and/or record their conversations if you have the opportunity. I know this seems an invasion of privacy and you may feel bad doing this to a friend, but in reality you may help save their life in the future with this evidence. You don't have to let them know you're taking photos or videos/audio, in fact you should just keep it to yourlself. Try to stockpile the evidence and talk to the victim as often as possible about conjuring up a safety plan.
Check into all of your/her local resources for domestic violence (even if the abuse is mostly emotional, they fit into the same category), save some money for/with the victim, buy them or help them buy bus tickets or plane tickets so that they can get away, out of the area for awhile after they decide to leave. Maybe they'll decide to stay away if the abuser is extremely violent and/or has shown violent tendencies. Gather all the information you can to assist the victim so that they feel supported throughout this process. This can be the most important decision they'll ever make in their lives, they need some type of support whether it be from you or an agency dealing with these issues. But as a friend/family member, I ask that you do whatever you can, be there whenever they need you. Even if you're frustrated and tired and sick of helping them. The victim will most likely gain the strength and courage to leave over time, with your help and support. You are doing her a lifelong service.
Thank you to everyone in this country that has put themselves and their own families out, to help and assist others that need it. No matter what the situation; an addict, an abused family/friend, neglected children, the homeless, etc. You're doing God's work and you will be rewarded tenfold, for doing so.