Help an Abused Woman

Do you know someone in a battering relationship? Do you suspect that a friend, relative, or someone you know is being abused? If so, don't be afraid to offer help because you just might save someone's life.


Below are some basic steps you can take to help someone who may be a target of domestic violence.

Approach her in an understanding, non-blaming way. Tell her that she is not alone, that there are many women like her in the same kind of situation, and that it takes strength to survive and trust someone enough to talk about battering. If you act shocked or say things like, "How come you stay in that relationship?" Then you risk her never confiding in you again because she is afraid and now ashamed because of your reaction.

Acknowledge that is it scary and difficult to talk about domestic violence. Tell her she doesn't deserve to be threatened, hit or beaten. Carefully, remind her that it is not normal, she may have been raised in an abusive environment and think it is normal. Nothing she can do or say makes the abuser's violence OK.

Share information. Show her the Warning List, Violence and Non-Violence Wheels. Discuss the dynamics of violence and how abuse is based on power and control.

Support her as a friend. Be a good listener. Encourage her to express her hurt and anger. Allow her to make her own decisions, even if it means she isn't ready to leave the abusive relationship. This is where it is important not to pass judgment.

Ask if she has suffered physical harm. Go with her to the hospital to check for injuries. Help her report the assault to the police, if she chooses to do so.

Provide information on help available to battered women and their children, including social services, emergency shelter, counseling services, and legal advice. To find this information, start with the Yellow Pages or the Internet.

Inform her about legal protection that is available in most states under abuse prevention laws. Have her contact Sheppard's Rest Ministries. Someone from the shelter with go with her to the superior court to get a protective order to prevent further harassment by the abuser.

Plan safe strategies for leaving an abusive relationship. These are often called "safety plans." Never encourage someone to follow a safety plan that she believes will put her at further risk. And remember that she may not feel comfortable taking these materials with her.