Domestic abuse is among the saddest but most common forms of violence that take place in a community. Based on the 2010 report of the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NIPSVS), a third of the female population have been victimized by the man or woman who’s supposed to be their better half. One in ever 12 males, meanwhile, experience maltreatment from their significant other as well.
The issue with many victims of domestic abuse is that they never ask for help right after the first violation. For instance, if the husband or wife lays a hand or uses derogatory words on them, they stay in the house, thinking that the former’s anger will pass, and everything will return to normal. In case there are physical marks, the abused typically conceals them with clothes or makeup. They only tell on the offender to the authorities if he or she threatens to kill the victims most of the time.
It is depressing, to be honest, to find out later that your friend, brother, or sister has been dealing with domestic violence for a while. “If someone you love says they’ve been the victim of domestic violence, you should believe and support them, since no gender is safe, and no amount of physical strength or emotional fortitude protects against abuse,” wrote Joel Young, M.D., Medical Director of the Rochester Science for Behavioral Medicine. To keep anyone in your community from going through this ordeal, therefore, you should do these:
- Take Note Of The Red Flags
From the get-go, you need to be aware of the warning signs of abuse. You may not see the man or woman beating their partner in front of you, yet there are always hints that it occurs. Say, he or she makes fun of the other person, to the extent that everyone else feels uncomfortable. When the abuser is not in the gathering, he or she makes the victim go home fast and won’t stop calling until their significant other returns. “Appreciating the sensitive nature of broaching the subject of interpersonal violence, seeking opportunities to interact with friends and loved ones in person, talking instead of just texting, will increase the chances of detecting signs of both physical and psychological abuse, and the opportunity to offer support,” says Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D.
- Talk To The Victim Heart-To-Heart
Considering you are no stranger to the neighbor whom you think is getting abused, you should not stay idle on the sidelines and wait for that individual to open on in their own time. What if he or she is merely afraid to make a move, assuming that nobody cares about what happens to him or her? What if the person wants help, but he or she does not know whom to go to? Thus, you may initiate the serious talk at some point.
“Because unsolicited intervention can feel disrespectful and controlling, it’s best to tread carefully. Victims must make their own decision to leave or take action, such as reporting stalking to authorities,” concludes Shawn Meghan Burn, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the California Polytechnic State University.
- Offer Helpful Resources For The Couple
Without meaning to justify the behavior of wrongdoers, it remains as the fact that domestic abuse practically roots from the problems of one person in the relationship. The man may be going through depression, for instance. The woman may have anger management issues. For this reason, you can help the two without splitting them up immediately by recommending a marriage counselor, psychotherapist, or support groups to them.
- Document Everything (Just In Case)
Once you get to coax the victim to open up about his or her experiences in the hands of the abuser, you should ask for permission to make a record of everything. Take a picture of the bruises; keep statements written by the sufferer. While it may not turn into a legal case – not yet – your neighbor can still rely on you to protect the evidence of the domestic violence in case he or she ends up going to court later.
- Monitor What’s Going On Regularly
Although things may seem to quiet down in your neighbors’ place, it will not hurt to check in on the abused person from time to time. A simple text saying “How are you doing?” or greeting him or her on the street can mean so much, especially for someone who suffers from constant assaults at home.
Domestic violence usually occurs in the privacy of a family’s house; that’s why the victims tend to feel as if no one can pull them out of the circumstance and away from the wrongdoer. However, being someone who shares the same neighborhood with these people and may even be close with them, you still can stop abuse from taking place in their residence. Just stay watchful and lend your ears and hands to anyone who needs it.