You may want a friend or family member to leave an abusive relationship, but leaving can be very dangerous because of the abuser’s desire to gain and maintain power and control over the victim. In fact, most fatalities occur when a victim is in the process of leaving or has left the relationship. Instead of telling your friend to just leave, encourage her to get help and say to her, “You are not alone. I’m here for you to talk.” Let her know that 1 in 4 women experience abuse at some point in their lifetimes and that talking to a domestic violence advocate and planning for her safety is important. Say to your friend, “The abuse is not your fault. There is help available when you are ready.”
As a friend or family member to a victim of domestic violence, one of the most powerful and helpful things that you can do to help the person being abused is to be supportive of them and give them information on how to get help. One thing that abusers do to gain and maintain power and control is to isolate victims. When you stay connected to the survivor and share your concern for her safety, you keep her from being as isolated. Explain to the victim that nobody deserves abuse and that there is help by calling a domestic violence advocate at Georgia’s 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline, 1.800.33.HAVEN (1.800.334.2836) V/TTY.