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How can I help a friend or family member?

Do you know someone who is being abused by their intimate partner? Letting someone know that you are concerned can break through the stigma, isolation, shame and denial of domestic violence. It can also let abusers and the rest of the community know that domestic violence is totally unacceptable.

There are many misconceptions about domestic violence. The Myths and Facts about Domestic Violence explain that abuse is not caused by the abuser’s alcohol/drug problem or anger management problem, nor does the victim provoke the violence. Domestic violence is caused by attitudes and beliefs held by the abuser which lead him to believe violence, power, and control are acceptable in intimate relationships.

What you say to a victim of abuse is important. Victims need to know someone is there to support them. Messages such as “it’s not your fault,” “no one deserves to be treated this way,” or “I’m sorry they hurt you” go a long way toward healing the effects of abuse.

Asking, “Why don’t you just leave?” blames the victim for the abuse. Leaving any relationship is hard. Leaving an abusive relationship is often the most dangerous thing to do. Let your friend or family member know you are there for them whenever they need help. For more ideas on how to be supportive, call our 24-hour Help Line at 541-389-7021. 

Resources and Reading Suggestions