How others have helped loved ones
It’s often helpful to understand a situation by hearing from those who have lived through the experience. If you’re here, we know it’s because you want to know what more you can do to be a source of support. Below we have shared advice from those who have supported friends experiencing domestic abuse, or survivors who have had a friend support them through their journey. This may help you in your experiences.
Before we share those stories, we want to highlight the experience of one survivor:
All I needed was...
My partner was always complaining about “his suffering,” and how he was misunderstood. To add to it, he had a terrible temper, one that led him to impart violence against me in more than one occasion. Somehow, I was always the one to blame. For everything that happened to me, him, and us. It was me who had to change for him to get better. At times, I really wish I had a good friend at that time. All I really needed was someone, anyone, who would have approached me and asked if my relationship was bad. Only if someone had asked me to confide in them, and offered to help.
Helping my sister
My story is about being a sister-cum-friend. They say, " you have to help yourself before anyone else will help you". I agree 200%. I tried to help my sister to come out a stale relationship by giving her moral, physical, financial support but she is not ready to put her kids under stress that would be a result of taking any decision. I believe victims have to be ready to realise and have assurance of security and wellbeing, if they choose to take action against abuse or violence from their partners.
Key Takeaway: Realise that your friend/family member has to be willing to help themselves first, for a breakthrough to take place, patience is key.
Helping a friend
“My friend was in a relationship with a controlling guy for about a year. All seemed normal throughout the relationship in my outsider's eyes and she didn't really notice any 'warning signs' as they were very much in love with each other. After a year, I had a chat with her as he was behaving shitty towards her - it was never his fault and he would always blame her for things; even going quiet for a couple of days and making her feel bad. She talked me through certain situations during their relationship when he had been really controlling and manipulative. She said she feels stupid for never recognising these signs. She was scared of meeting him to break up with him - as she didn't know how he'd react. We made a plan together and I supported her and was available to chat with her all the time. She met him in a public place, set her agenda, broke up with him, and I advised her to secretly record the chat (just in case). Then I helped move her things from his flat - this way, she didn't have to see him.”
Key Takeaway: It takes time - you can point to all the resources and tips/tricks you want, but don't be pushy. Individuals need to make up their own mind and come to their own conclusions - this is the only way a decision becomes sustainable, long-term and feels right.
Having a supportive friend gave me courage
“In the depths of my nightmare, having a friend was the only thing that kept me going. Her perseverance to encourage me to seek further help and being someone who offered unwavering support and consistency against a tumultuous background was so important to me. One day I did take the leap and left my abusive partner. It wasn’t easy, and without the help of my friend, I don’t think I would be living the positive new lifestyle that I do now, and I am eternally grateful for that.”
Key Takeaway: As a friend, be consistent with your support
“I had several friends who supported me in escaping an abusive relationship a number of years ago. It took time, lots of time; looking back far too much time. But the one thing that I really appreciated was my friends’ supportive listening skills. They were ALWAYS there to hear what I had to say, and kept me sane.”
Key Takeaway: Don’t underestimate the power of listening
Want to share your story? Email it to us on team at chayn.co or you can also send it to us on Facebook.