One in 3 women experience some form of physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. That is why there is a good chance someone you know at your work, school, social/civic group, gaming community, faith-based organization or in your neighborhood is a survivor.
Relationship abuse is a pattern of behaviors used to gain or maintain power and control over a partner, which can manifest in a number of ways: physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, reproductive, financial, using technology and stalking. There is usually more than one form of abusive behavior occurring in an abusive relationship.
Concerned community members may wonder how best to support a friend or family member who may be experiencing domestic abuse.
Survivors benefit from having trusted people around them, so it is important to listen without judgement and believe them if they choose to talk about it. Let them know you are concerned about them and that you are there for them.
If they choose to share their experience, reassure them that no one deserves to be abused or assaulted. The person who is causing or has caused the harm is the one who is responsible.
Know that each person’s experience is their story to share and it’s confidential. Let your friend/loved one direct the conversation when and if they are ready.
Be prepared when and if your friend/loved one decides to share their experience. Have a few local resources available to share such as local domestic abuse programs and shelters.
Point them to anonymous, confidential help available 24/7, such as:
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan, Inc.
TTY/TDD: dial 711
If in immediate danger, call 9-1-1
Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan is committed to providing compassionate, confidential support services for survivors of domestic abuse, such as:
- 24-Hour Help and Information Line
- Safe Home
- Counseling, Advocacy and Support
- Crisis Intervention Counseling
- Safety Planning
- Educational and Employment Services
- Resources and Referrals
Each person’s healing journey will look different and that’s okay. The most important thing you can do to help is to make sure your friend/loved one feels comfortable, safe and to be there for them.
For 24-hour help or information, call Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan at 1-800-275-1995.