Abuse Relationship Support

Joy Bringer Blog is to offer support and information to those who find themselves in an abusive realtionship.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Abuse Is Not Love - Love Is Not Abuse

Abuse is not

is not abuse!

Nearly one-third of all Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year. These women are our daughters, sisters, mothers and friends. Domestic violence is everybody's problem, and everybody needs to be part of the solution.

Abuse is not Love - Love is not abuse—communicates a simple but powerful and indisputable message: a loving relationship should never involve abusive or violent behavior.
This is a problem that won't go away until everyone is aware of what they can do to prevent it. We live in a society that, by its silence, tolerates violence. Don't stand on the sidelines—stand up.

Relationship Violence.
Break the silence.
Be part of the solution.

Suggested Action Steps for Women

  • Think about relationship abuse as a major social problem that touches the lives of women of all social, economic and racial backgrounds. Focus on the ways in which you, as an empowered bystander, can support at-risk women and girls and confront abusive men.

  • If you are being emotionally, psychologically or physically abused in an intimate relationship, or have been in the past, seek professional help NOW. If you suspect that your sister, friend, co-worker or neighbor is being abused, let her know you're there to support her.
  • Familiarize yourself with the resources for women in your community including women's centers, counseling centers and health service organizations. Be a positive resource for women close to you by sharing information and making appropriate referrals.
  • Support women and men who are working to end men's violence against women. Get involved with a local women's organization. If you belong to a community group, organize a fundraiser to benefit battered women's shelters and rape crisis centers.
  • Help to educate and empower girls not to tolerate abuse or sexism. Get involved with youth outreach and mentoring programs in local high schools and middle schools.

Suggested Action Steps for Men

  • Approach relationship abuse as a men's issue involving men of all social, economic and racial backgrounds. Recognize men not only as perpetrators or potential offenders, but as bystanders who can confront abusive males, as well as potential victims.
  • If you are a father, coach, teacher, uncle, older brother or mentor, you can play a crucial role in guiding the boys in your life into manhood and into positive relationships as they grow older—by teaching them about respect, showing them how to deal with conflict, and setting an example of how to build healthy relationships. By starting a conversation about relationship abuse, your actions demonstrate that this is an issue that can be discussed thoughtfully and openly.
  • If you have a son, brother, friend, co-worker or neighbor who is abusing his partner, don't look the other way! Urge him to seek help or, if you don't know what to do, consult a friend, family member, community leader or the police.
  • SPEAK OUT! If you suspect that a woman you know is being abused, gently ask if you can help.
  • While most victims of relationship abuse are female, boys can be emotionally or physically abused as well. Boys can be abused by their girlfriends, and they can also be abused by another boy if they are in a same-sex relationship. Either way, let them know that the abuse is not their fault, and that they have nothing to feel ashamed of. Encourage them to seek help.
  • Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of relationship violence.
    Support women's organizations. If you belong to a community group, organize a fundraiser to benefit a local service organization (i.e. a battered women's shelter or rape crisis center).

Take Care in Your Home

  • Reject any form of violence against women and children.
  • Educate yourself and your children about family violence.

Take Action in Your Community

  • Volunteer and contribute to local shelters, hotlines and outreach agencies.
  • Support victims of abuse trying to change their lives.
  • Encourage anti-violence workplace seminars and curricula in schools.
  • Urge your legislators to address domestic violence.

Suggested Action Steps for Teens*

Talking to a friend dealing with relationship violence can make an enormous difference to her. She is probably feeling very isolated and alone.
When talking to a friend you think might be abused, there are several key things to keep in mind:

  • Listen to what she has to say, and don't be judgmental.
  • Let her know you are there for her whenever she needs to talk, and that you are worried about her.
  • Let her know that you won't tell anyone she doesn't want you to about her situation—and then keep your word (unless you fear for her physical safety).
  • Be specific about why you are concerned - "I felt bad when I saw him insult you in front of all of us. He doesn't have the right to treat you that way. What did you think about it?"
  • Let your friend know you won't stand by and let the behavior continue.
  • Find someone knowledgeable about abuse that she can talk to, and volunteer to go with her.

When talking to a friend who is being abusive, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Be specific about what you saw and how it made you feel.
  • Make sure he realizes that his actions have consequences, and he could get into serious trouble—from getting expelled from school to going to jail.
  • Urge him to get help, from a counselor, coach, or any trusted adult, and offer to go with him if he wants support.
  • Let him know that you care about him, and that you know he has it in him to change.
  • Let her know you are there for her whenever she needs to talk, and that you are worried about her.
  • Most guys who hurt their girlfriends don't consider themselves "batterers"—many are in denial about the severity of their actions. It's hard for us, as their friends, to believe it, too. But reaching out and talking to a friend we think is being violent in his relationship is truly an act of friendship, though it may seem like the hardest thing you can do.

You can also consider talking with an adult:

  • Write down what you need from the adult, what you want them to be like. Make sure they have your best interests at heart. It might be a parent, a teacher, a school counselor, a coach, or a friend's parent. Chart out all the adults you know and figure out who is your best ally.
  • If you think your friend is in physical danger, but she doesn't want to seek any help, go ahead and tell an adult you trust yourself.
  • If you are concerned that a friend is being abusive, it can also be helpful to talk to an adult, either with your friend or by yourself if he doesn't admit the problem or refuses to go with you. Go to an adult you trust, one who you think will get your friend the help he needs and stick by you and support you for talking to them.


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