Dec. 1, 2011 _ Do you suspect that someone in your life is being abused? Do they seem numb, depressed, resentful, anxious about little things? Are they sporting bruises? Are they giving you strange stories of their personal life that don’t add up? Are they hinting that something is wrong? Do you know her partner and he is arrogant, distant, acts above it all? Does he seem to always be on the “right side” of arguments? Does he have trouble admitting wrong-doing, defeat in a debate, unwilling to listen to others?
If you think someone is being abused, do something. I know that it is hard and uncomfortable. I know that we would rather not get involved, but you just might save a life if you do.
Yes, your friend or love one might not respond well. In fact, it is highly likely that she will react badly. Victims of abuse by in large seek privacy about the abuse because they are in massive denial about it. Facing abuse is very hard and scary because it means a 100 percent complete life change for everyone. When was the last time you willing decided to completely change your life?
But know that you may be saving a life if you can overcome your fear.
If you are right, you may be the first step your friend takes toward freedom from abuse. It may take a lot more steps to get out, but you may have given her just enough help to make that first step.
If you are right, don’t let the abuser off the hook. Abusers enjoy believing their abuse is private and that they are getting away with it. Abusers want the image that non-abusers have, so they allow themselves to believe that they aren’t abusing. Confront an abuser, and there is a high likelihood that he will stop.
Of course, do not do anything that will compromise your safety or your friend’s. Call 911 if you suspect the abuser will hurt someone again. Call a domestic abuse hotline if you don’t really know what to do. But don’t remain silent. Please.
You could be helping your friend and her kids from receiving another blow.
Abusers are very insecure people and don’t want to face their choice. When they know that you know what they have done, they won’t do it again. Silence is what keeps abusers free to abuse. It is a choice with the desired payoff. But they don’t abuse in front of others, because they would receive an undesirable outcome … the distain of others. My abuser once saw our neighbor through the window while he was hitting me. He stopped immediately and ran out of the house, I guess because he worried that the neighbor had seen him hitting me or heard me screaming and called the police.
It is against our natures to get involved in people’s private lives and what goes on behind closed doors. But domestic abuse is not a private matter and it is time for it to come out in the open. It is the only way to stop the damage of domestic abuse.