How You Can Help
If you know someone who is going through intimate partner violence (IPV), there are ways you can help.
- Listen and believe
It can be difficult for a survivor to disclose abuse they endure and it is important to listen to their story without interrupting, asking a lot of questions, or judging them. Thank them for sharing their story with you and let them know you believe them.
- Provide resources/options
A survivor may not be aware of the resources available to them in their community or may hesitate to seek support for fear of ridicule during the reporting process or safety concerns. Linking the survivor to Hope and Healing Survivor Resource Center can help them access an array of resources while remaining confidential and completely free to them. If our agency does not directly provide a service that the survivor is needing, referrals can be made to ensure that the survivor’s needs are met.
- Meet them where they are at and respect their decisions
A survivor can have any range of emotions about their situation with their abuser and it is important to respect their decision on whether or not they choose to stay with them. Convey your support for the survivor regardless of their situation and refrain from telling them what to do. If a survivor decides they want help, they can call us 24/7/365 for support on different options. We can create a safety plan for survivors trying to leave, or make other unique plans if they are not ready.
- Know your limitations of your capacity to help
If you are unsure of how to best help a survivor of IPV, reach out to resources in the community. You can call our hotline and speak to an advocate about ways that you can help someone and get information about how our programs can help. You cannot make any decisions for the survivor or force them to use services if they are not ready or willing. They are the expert of their life.
It is also important to recognize when you as an ally and co-survivor are getting too overwhelmed or affected by the survivor’s situation. Take time for yourself and make sure you are keeping up on your own self care after hearing hard topics. Recharge your batteries, set boundaries, and step back if necessary.
You can empower a survivor with a listening ear and available resources. Often, abusers are manipulative and do not let the survivor make choices about their life. Empowering a survivor is crucial to restore their confidence in their ability to make their own choices and decisions.
Don’t hesitate to call our hotline if you are a survivor of IPV, you know someone who is a survivor of IPV, or if you would like to intern or volunteer with our agency.
Battered Women’s Shelter 24/7 Hotline: 330-374-1111
Rape Crisis Center 24/7 Hotline: 330-434-7273
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but DV happens all year round. Use this blog post to start conversations within your social circle and build awareness in your community!