STEPS TO SUPPORTING A SURVIVOR
HOW DO YOU STOP DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
YOU TALK ABOUT ITTM
Use these steps to help In the workplace, a family member or a friend
Take time to listen
Listening is an act of love, it shows that you care enough to put your personal opinions aside to listen to how a survivor feels, how they think, and how they respond. Listening gives a survivor the opportunity to express themselves freely without feeling the fear of any consequences.
Reflect back to a time when you felt vulnerable or you faced a turning point in your life, think of what helped you the most. More than likely it wasn’t a specific conversation you had, but it was the knowledge and comfort that the person you told was there for you, believed in you, was there by your side, and was committed to supporting you through difficult times.
Here are some helpful phrases you can use to show a survivor you care.
- “I’m so sorry this happened to you.”
- “You are a conqueror, you will get through this”
- “I believe in you.”
- ” You are God’s MASTERPIECE”
- “There is HOPE”
- “You will survive”
- “Don’t give up, I’m here with you and for you
- “I’m so happy you confided in me”
- “This is not your fault.”
- “You’re not alone”.
Often times, a survivor may feel like what happened to them is their fault.
Victim-blaming happens frequently in our society, but no action excuses a person hurting someone else. Abuse is never a victim’s fault. Use these helpful phrases to communicate to a survivor gently and repeatedly to help them understand it’s not their fault.
- “Nothing you did, said, or acted could’ve made this your fault.”
- “The responsibility is on the person who hurt you.”
- “No one has the right to control you, hurt you, or make you feel afraid”
- “I know that it can feel like you did something wrong, but you didn’t.”
- “It doesn’t matter if you did or didn’t _______. No one deserves to be hurt in this way.”
Ask what more you can do to be of service to them
Domestic violence is about gaining power and control. It is vital for survivors to regain their sense of personal power and strength. Instead of using forceful language to push someone into doing something their not ready to take action on, ask how you can support them.
Know where to point someone for helpful resources.
You can best help a survivor by offering options and leaving space for them to decide where to go from there. Here are some national and local resources that can help guide a survivor.
Keep the opportunity open for further conversations.
Don’t hesitate to let a survivor know you are available should they need to speak about their experiences further. Some survivors can experience a longer healing journey than others. The journey can be full of many challenges—but yet some joyful and liberating—conversations. It can make a huge difference to a survivor to know you are there to support them along the way.
Taking time to care for yourself
Hearing the anguishes of domestic violence can be very overwhelming, we all have a limit to what we are able to take in and process. Experiencing second-hand trauma—often referred to as vicarious trauma—is a human response to coming face-to-face with reality and difficulties of human experiences.
It’s just as important to care for yourself, as you support and care for another person.
It is impossible to continue in your supportive role if you’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed with your own emotions in response to another person’s trauma. These feelings are valid and should not be ignored.& Here are some suggestive steps you can take after a conversation to recenter yourself.
- Pray / Meditate and listen to soothing music.
- Enjoy a nature walk in the park.
- Spend time doing your favorite activity.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Treat yourself to a spa day or pamper yourself at home.
- Enjoy lunch or dinner with your favorite group of friends.
- Speak with a counselor for your talk therapy needs.
Don’t forget, you can’t be your best for someone else, if you don’t give yourself the space to honor your own needs.