Thank you so much for your SUPPORT and concern. IF you suspect Domestic Violence, it is highly probable that it is OCCURING. And the friend or family member of yours, NEEDS all of the help you can give her/him.
If you didn't read the first page of this website, let me re-state that I would NEVER have seen my new huband's behavior as DOMESTIC VIOLENCE had not my friend David A. seen changes it. He SAW changes beginning to occur, the abuse BEGINNING to happen. He challenged me to go online, and look up Domestic Violence. Now that worked for this trained Social Worker (too proud to admit unconsciously that this could be happening AT ALL. But it was.)
David's approach won't work with all. But he knew me, and challenged me. Because he knew it was what I NEEDED. And I knew he truly cared about me!
Knowing the person you love or are close to, is the first step. And being there for her (him too if he is disabled) is never an easy task. Most women must leave time and time again, because she is willing to GIVE HER MARRIAGE a chance. This must of course be respected.
So you will find yourself telling her the same info time and time again. It takes a great deal of patience. So we who have moved from Victim to Survivor say THANK YOU. Without our support persons we would not be alive to Thank You today.
"Why does it take so many times? Why do women go back? It seems so easy to go to a shelter. Just CALL!" It SEEMS that way doesn't it? But it is not ever simple. Ever.
Now that I look back it all seems so obvious. Or that it should have been. But it never is. That's what distance brings, the perspective of others.
Being now past the stages of Loss [Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression, Acceptance] so that I can say of my Batterer (he is not choosing admission, much less survival, but the shelter staff verifies just how abusive he was toward them !) :
"Even though I truly AM the woman of his dreams, He is not able to be the MAN of them."
That was only after many friends us to help us LEAVE PERMENANTLY. And this is where you come in.
As she moves through the stages of Grieving the Loss she will find acceptance of what the Addiction to Power and Control known as Domestic Violence has left in its wake. Her self esteem has been lowered. And her kids have been hurt too by its tragic aftermath. Had she remained however, they too could have learned this behavior.
Domestic Violence is something which is never going to be done in public, so her shame, and society's will keep this going, before others will ever recognize it.
By the time others notice what he is doing, he probably has her believing that each and every one of the outbursts "ARE HER FAULT". But you know, and rational folks will know it too. But be aware, that he will use "Logic" to convince her that what he does is "Right" even when her feelings know that what he is doing is real, and it is destructive.
Here I intend to give perhaps some insight, as to "Why" or "How" questions you are probably asking yourself right now, as well as a great deal of web links, which point to the role you can play, in helping the survivor to leave. Remember that love is not logical or rational. And GUILT plays a huge role in keeping the cycle going. But neither of those will help the survivor to leave. Education will !
For starters, it is good to go to a website set up via Australia, in which no judgement or condemnation goes on. With this gently supporting role, it gives the best how-to's that I have found on the web. As I love research by nature, that is quite a lot to say. It has downloadable papers which can help her see, in writing, some of the reasons; gives stories of other women; provides you with supportive ideas, and "Do's and Don'ts" which I found more useful than ALL of the shoulds and oughts which seem to obvious to anyone NOT in the situation!
If you are not quite certain Domestic Abuse is going on... here are some resources which gave me a clearer picture. I recommend the Nashville Police Website. It inspired me to BELIEVE I was really abused. In fact, it changed my life. Had I remained, I would NOT be alive today!
Copyright November 4, 1999