Friday, September 28, 2007

How do I support and encourage someone I love Who I believe is a victim of domestic violence?

Question: How do I support and encourage someone that I love that I believe is a victim of domestic violence?

Answer: If she is open to talking about the situation, make certain she has helpful information concerning resources that may be available to her. If she is not, all you can do is pray diligently for her safety and to keep your hearts and doors open to her.

If she is not ready to take any kind of action (legal or otherwise), pressuring her to do so will very likely not help at this time. In fact it could only make things worse by driving her away from you when she may need you most. But if she knows she can come to you at any time, under any circumstances--without shame, she may very well do so when the time comes. You can never tell when she will be ready to take steps in changing her situation that she is unable to even contemplate right now. So pray and let her know she has an open door (my own mother's was a revolving door for quite some time).

The abuse will mostly likely progress and worsen as time passes, and her safety may already be seriously compromised. She could either be minimizing the abuse and violence going on in her marriage, or hiding the worst of it from her family. At any rate, do not underestimate the danger she may be in. Do not underestimate the power of prayer. I have seen prayer work wonders and women get out safely when they finally face the reality of their situations.