How to Support the victims of Domestic Abuse?

There are more than 10 million domestic violence and abuse victims each year – by the time you finish the sentence, at least one woman has been assaulted. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that domestic violence is a plague that knows no bounds.  Physical abuse is prevalent in all demographics, from those below the poverty line to the million-dollar faces we all adore.

And while domestic violence has no racial or economic bounds, according to VeryWell, research seems to show that black women are most likely to experience domestic violence, followed by Hispanics and then whites, with Asians the least likely to endure domestic violence. And while black and Hispanic women have been shown to be more likely to report domestic violence, those who fear deportation might be less likely to report their abuser. Making a horrendous situation even worse.

Every day, however, there are plenty of women who are able to free themselves from domestic abuse. But it doesn’t end there. Women of domestic violence often experience symptoms of trauma long after escape. They need a loving, supportive, and understanding network to help them regain their confidence. Understandably, it’s difficult to know what to say or do to help a loved one circumvent further crisis after ending an abusive relationship. Here are a few things you can do to help a woman during her transition from victim to victor.

Lend a listening ear. Having the opportunity to talk about the situation to a non-threatening and sympathetic friend is cathartic. Sometimes, the abused may not be fully convinced of the gravity of their former situation and may need to hear themselves say it out loud. Listen attentively, but don’t push for details. She will open up in her own time.

Help her find a qualified therapist. As much as you can listen, your friend will need much more emotional support than you can provide. Help her find a therapist who is experienced in helping people heal after an abusive relationship. In addition to individual therapy, you can point her in the direction of local support groups, where she can discuss her situation with others in the same boat. This is all the more important if substance abuse is a factor (as it often is in these situations). This may help her realize that she is not alone and overcome lingering feelings of guilt or grief that she associates with the relationship. Mental Health America offers a list of specialized support groups on its website.

Be specific in your offers of help. Your friend may not know what she needs as her mind is still swimming with fear and apprehension. Avoid vague statements such as, “Call me if you need anything.” Instead, pay attention to her environment and social or verbal cues. If she has children, you might, for instance, offer to take the kids out for ice cream so that she can have a moment alone. Set up a schedule with other close friends and family that know about the situation to provide meals and transportation.

Encourage her to pursue her passions. Lots women find comfort in their hobbies. And since many victims of domestic violence are denied any form of happiness by their abuser, it is more important now than ever that your friend do something strictly for herself. Drawing, painting, and other forms of self-expression may help her refocus her priorities while offering a temporary respite from her emotional anguish.

Provide her with alternative therapy options. The National Center for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder reports that acupuncture, meditation, and relaxation exercises are viable ways to supplement trauma recover. Animal therapy is another proven technique to overcome depression, which is often triggered by domestic violence. Dogs are especially effective companions for women who may not be quite ready to talk about their experiences but need comfort and unconditional love. Health Fitness Revolution magazine asserts that having access to a service animal can provide anxiety relief, encourage communication, and has a number of overall positive psychological benefits.

Don’t insist that she start dating. Domestic violence leaves an emotional scar that can make it difficult for victims to open their hearts once again. Avoid the temptation to set your finally-free friend up; she will begin dating in her own time. Codependency and domestic violence often go hand-in-hand, according to Darlene Lancer, a marriage and family therapist and author of Conquering Shame and Codependency. You should encourage her to learn how to depend on herself before pursuing new love interests.

In conclusion, the most important things you can do for a victim of domestic violence is be there for support and help her explore this new chapter in her life.

 The article has been contributed by Nora Hood. She can be contacted via her email nora@threedaily.org 

 

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We’ve got mail – letters from Kenya

GMA’s #Books4Future is picking up after the incredible efforts of GMA’s student society in Aberdeen and a generous special collection in Wellington Church in Glasgow gave the campaign a boost. Together with gratefully received individual donations and kind assistance of SPAR in Aberdeen, the fundraising currently stands at £970.

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who contributed so far!

However – £970 are a great start but we are working hard to achieve our target of £5000.

This week we received some wonderfully encouraging letters from pupils of Star of the Land Education Centre. We will share them one by one in this blog.

The letters are full of hope and ambition and are an impressive illustration of why #Books4Future is a cause worthwhile to report.

Read Aisha’s letter below and donats today via www.bit.do.books4future :

Books4Future

Aisha writes:

My name is Aisha Juma. I am eight years old. I am in standard two at Star of the Land Education Centre. I like mathematics and english very much. 

I live with my Parents being the first born. I love my school very much because the environment is very nice My school has six teachers. I love my class teacher very much because she assists me in all the time when am doing my class work. 

I love my school very much but it has no library to keep books. I even borrow books from other children because I do not have them. A library would make me very happy.

(the last line has been added as it is on the backside of the letter)

 

The Victims of Pakistan’s Acid Attacks

Yesterday, The New York Times published an opinion article by Nicholas Kristof, which highlighted the plight of thousands of women in Pakistan who become victims of the acid attacks far and wide in the country. These poor women become the victims of patriarchy, societal norms as their lives, relationships, family and above all their ‘being’ is neglected, denied, deprived and even sacrificed on the name of ‘honour’.

Being a woman in a patriarchal society is an unimaginable life. You are reduced to nothingness. You do not hold any feelings, emotions or any respect. Your existence is no longer an existence. It’s something there, open to abuse, violence and sometimes murder. A life some argue, is worse than a death.

Global Minorities Alliance urges Pakistan government to implement laws with action to help thousands of women who become victims of this barbarous acts of violence by men. There is indeed no ‘honour’ in killing.

The ‘Saving Face’ a documentary which has highlighted the plight of these women who go through excruciating pain both at familial, societal and legal level to get justice. However, not everyone get justice. The fight for rights of women go on.

To watch the documentary on the acid victims of Pakistan click here: ‘Saving Face