How to be an ally to a domestic violence survivor
If you know someone who is ready to move past the cycle of domestic abuse, help is available with our team of dedicated Lake Charles domestic violence lawyers. The journey to recovery and independence is not easy. We understand that each situation is unique, and we can offer an individualized approach to your personal situation.
Becoming a domestic abuse survivor ally
Standing with a domestic abuse survivor is challenging, but you want to be supportive. Below, we share some helpful techniques that can demonstrate your willingness to be an ally in someone’s journey away from domestic abuse in Lake Charles.
Listen for language clues
A domestic abuse survivor may be ready to ask for help but unsure of a safe place to turn. Survivors will often look for clues in your response to statements to judge if you are a dependable ally. Some of the language you may hear can sound like justifications for the abuser’s behavior, so rather than reacting or stating “If I were you, I would…”, listen and respond without judgment to react in a supportive, useful way.
Non-judgemental advocacy is always available from a Lake Charles domestic violence lawyer.
Your response to a survivor’s statements may be said in defense of your loved one, but it is extremely critical not to respond in a way that makes the survivor feel responsible for what’s happening. Your loved one may retreat back to the abusive situation if your words become critical of their partner. Abusers are skilled in making their victims feel dependent and incapable without them.
Choose supportive language. Being less direct in your approach allows time for the conversation to develop. As a domestic abuse survivor ally, the need to immediately solve the problem has to take a backseat. You must allow your loved one the space to be ready, even if it takes days, weeks, or longer.
Helpful language can include:
- Is this relationship working for you?
- Does he/she/they understand how this makes you and the children feel?
- I imagine it must be difficult trying to provide for a household or feel secure in your home when you’re unaware of your financial situation.
- Does his/her/their actions make you feel afraid?
- How can I best show up for you during this time?
- I’m always here to listen.
Take an interest in their story
It may be uncomfortable for both you and your friend or loved one to approach the topic of domestic abuse. Remember, there is already someone controlling the behavior of a domestic abuse survivor. After your initial conversation, take interest in their story when they want to share and allow for your loved one to open up about what they need without feeling forced.
In seeking help, survivors not only face leaving their abuser but must often challenge long-held beliefs and principles. Leaving an abuser is difficult, but going against deeply held beliefs may feel too overwhelming. Gentle responses that make you a domestic abuse survivor ally can sound like the following statements:
- Is there some way I can offer support for you right now?
- Is there something you would like to share to help me understand better?
- Can I help you find a source of support that feels more neutral about the situation?
- Is there some way I can help you feel safer without compromising your beliefs?
Create a safe space through education
Becoming educated on community resources that offer domestic abuse survivor support is imperative so that information is available when it’s needed. Make a folder kept in a safe space for your loved one to access, remembering that abusers often check the email, mail, phone records, and personal spaces of the survivor to enforce dominance and protect themselves against exposure.
Also, investigate resources for the next closest town to foster anonymity. And offer private space and the use of a phone to make calls or offer a ride. Listings to include are:
- Contact information for supportive Lake Charles family law attorneys
- Abuse hotline numbers
- Local mental health counselors and support group information
- Organizations offering safe stays and living support
- Religious organizations that support a survivor’s right to a safe life away from their abuser
Social services and organizations that foster financial independence
Abuse can happen to anyone, anytime. We can help.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. Listen equally to anyone reaching out for help.
Partnership and committed guidance is available at The Johnson Firm. Call (337) 433-1414 when you’re ready to begin building a safer future. You will always find a domestic abuse survivor ally ready to help you take the next step.