14 Signs Of An Abused Friend & What You Can Do To Help

To recognize a very touchy, yet important subject, I am here to discuss a matter at hand that may hit home for some of you; Domestic Violence.  It is an atrocious scenario that 1 in 4 women will sadly experience in their lifetime. Not only can the abuse be physical, emotional, verbal or sexual, it is a cowardly act used by a person to take control of you.  While there are women who will seek out immediate help to get away from an abusive partner, there are many who will do all they can to hide the ill-treatment. 

 "Violence against women is an everyday reality, act now, always, and forever before it's too late."

Given the large volume of domestic violence in the United States, there is a good chance that someone you know has experienced abuse, even if you don't suspect it.  Whether it is a family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker, you can reach out.  Learning to spot the warning signs is the first step and when you recognize these signs, you can lend a helping hand by supporting your loved ones.  Let’s work together to support those affected by this issue and inspiring more people to get involved. We all have a role in putting a stop to violence in our communities.  Take a look at some typical warning signs of an abused person and what you can do to help.

Warning signs that someone is being abused:

- May be apologetic and make excuses for the abusive behavior
No access to a phone- no communication with family or friends
- Is nervous about talking when her partner is around
Tries to cover up bruises
- Fears for her life and for her children's safety
- Makes excuses or avoids you on the street
- Is in denial and cannot see her risk
- Blames herself for the violent behavior
- Seems sad, lonely, withdrawn and is afraid
- Appears sick more often and misses work
- Seems defensive and angry
- Copes by using drugs or alcohol
Is involved in another relationship
Is in a custody battle for the children

Now that you know the signs to determine if someone is a victim of abuse, here are some suggestions in what you can do to help:

- Gather as much information as possible about domestic violence and abuse and the resources available.  This includes counseling, battered women's shelters and support groups.

- Be sure not to judge or blame her. 

- Encourage her to seek help and remind her that her safety is the first priority. Pass along the number for the national domestic violence helpline, 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233).

- Support your friend in whatever she decides to do, but be sure to express your concerns if you're convinced she's in immediate danger. 

- Help her prepare an escape plan. Assist in preparing an emergency bag which should include cash, clothing and important documents and phone numbers.  This should be stashed at a friend's house or safe location. 

- Establish a code word.  Come up with a phrase, word or signal she can use to alert you that she's in danger and contact the police.

Do you know someone in an abusive relationship?  What have you done to help?  Post your comments below and let's keep the conversation going. 

 ~Love and Light

photo credit: We Heart It

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