P.O. Box 1543
Great Bend, KS 67530
Seek out a private, quiet place to begin talking. Allow plenty of time to talk at length; you may be the first person that she has told about the abuse. Any of the following questions might help get the conversation going.
- You seem so unhappy. Do you want to talk about it? I'd like to listen and I'll keep it between us.
- I couldn't help but hear your argument last night, and I was worried about you. Are you okay? Were you hurt?
- What is it like at home for you?
- What happens when you or your partner disagree or argue?
- How does your partner handle things when he doesn't get his way?
- Are you ever scared of your partner? Does he threaten you?
- Does he ever follow you? Do you have to account to him for your time?
- Does he ever prevent you from doing things you want to do?
- Is he jealous, hard to please, irritable, demanding, and critical?
- Does he ever push you around or hit you?
- Does he ever put you down, call you names, yell at you, or punish you in any way?
- Does he ever make you have sex? Does he ever make you do sexual things that you don't like?
What do you do next?
- Believe her.
- Acknowledge the courage she showed in talking to you. She has taken a risk in confiding in you.
- Let her know that you consider her feelings of fear, confusion, anger, sadness, guilt, numbness, helplessness or hopelessness are reasonable and normal.
- Avoid treating her like a child or helpless victim.
- Respect her pace and be patient.
- Support the decisions she makes for herself. Help her make plans, but let her make the decisions.
- Educate yourself about the dynamics of domestic violence. Call your local domestic violence program for information about services available and basic information about domestic violence.
- Explain that domestic violence is a crime and that she can seek protection from the criminal justice system.
- Explain that she and her children have a right to safety and happiness.
- Make sure she knows that she is not alone, that millions of Americans from every ethnic, racial and socioeconomic group suffer from abuse, and that many women find it difficult to leave.
- Emphasize that when she is ready, she can make a choice to leave the relationship and that there is help available.
- Provide her with information about local resources: the phone number of the local domestic violence hotline, support groups, counseling, shelter programs, and legal advocacy.
- If she wants to go to an agency or domestic violence program, volunteer to go with her.
- If she is in immediate danger, call the police.
- If you see or hear an assault in progress, call the police. These assaults are often dangerous to outsiders; do not intervene yourself.
- She may need financial assistance, help finding a place to live, a place to store her belongings, or help in caring for pets. She may need assistance to escape. Decide if you feel comfortable helping her out in these ways.
- If she remains in the relationship, continue to be her friend while at the same time firmly communicating to her that she and her children do not deserve to be treated abusively.
- With her permission, enlist other friends, family or co-workers to help with child care or go along to court.