Introduction: How to Say No to Abuse

Domestic violence is an evil that has plagued the Indian society for years. Wives and kids, and sometimes the husbands, have been its victims. However, most people prefer to remain silent about this issue, as if it never existed. What deters them is usually the shame and embarrassment, or the fear that their abuser will harm them more if their misdeed was exposed.

Most of us are bystanders and witnesses to different types of abuses, and at times it can be really difficult to figure out how to help those we think are the victim of abuse, without provoking the abuser. And in many scenarios, the victim is not even ready to reveal what is happening to him or her. So if someone declines to discuss domestic violence issues, it’s definitely due to the fear of the abuser or other issues which make it difficult to talk about such as personal experiences.

If you want to help someone who is a victim of abuse, then try familiarizing him or her with the challenges posed by the issue. These can be emotional, safety, legal, economic and social challenges that the victim might face in the future. If you are wondering what you can do to stop abuse around you, then you can try the following:

Step 1: Understand

Talk to the person who you think is being abused, but make sure that the abuser is not around. Approach them in a non-blaming, non-judgmental and understanding way and let them know that they are not alone.

You can say things like “I’m worried about you and your safety” or “This is not how things should be”. If the person is not responding the way you expect them to, then wait for a few days or weeks before you bring the issue up again.

Step 2: Help Out

Let them know that you will help them, and don’t push your point of view or belief onto them.

Step 3: Support

Be a good listener and use supportive language. Such cases are quite sensitive to be tackled with harsh words.

Step 4: Don’t Judge

Don’t say anything bad about their abuser. Don’t make the victim feel that they are to be blamed for the situation that they are in.

Step 5: Don’t Demoralize

Don’t depress the victim further by saying things like “I would leave the relationship if I was in your situation.” You aren’t in their situation, but they are. So understand they may have their own reasons which you can’t judge from a distance.

Step 6: Show Them Hope

Remind the victim that they deserve to be happy and healthy in their relationship, and no one should treat them in a hurtful manner. Let them know that domestic violence is a punishable crime.

Step 7: Look for Help

If you think that the situation is going out of hand, make a point to contact your local domestic violence agency for help.

Step 8: Give Out Information

Provide the person with resource information like the number of a domestic violence hotline or agency, or simply put them in touch with someone you think can be of help.

Step 9: Win Trust

Be someone who is supportive of them and is always there to help them.

Domestic violence comes in different forms and is not something a decent civilization would approve of. So if you think that someone you know or you yourself are a victim of abuse, then raise your voice before things go out of hand. Any sort of violence, even violence against children is not acceptable. Stop violence in childhood and don’t let any childhood get scarred.

What do you think? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below.