Maybe she’s your friend, the woman next to you in exercise class or the waitress who pours your morning coffee - and she’s a victim of domestic and sexual violence and she needs help. What can you do?
First, if she won't talk to you about what is happening to her or if you feel reluctant to broach the subject, please call.
Schuylkill Women in Crisis (SWiC) offers free, confidential counseling to “significant others” - those who are concerned that someone they care about is, or may be, in an abusive relationship. Keep in mind - many victims lose their sense of self-worth as a woman, a wife, a partner. Often they’re convinced they deserve the abuse they receive.
Domestic violence situations can be extremely dangerous – not only for the victim who is being abused - but also for her children, her loved ones, her friends and co-workers. SWiC offers the following information as only a guide - remember not to involve yourself directly in volatile or potentially volatile situations, but always first consider calling police or referring a friend or loved one to a domestic violence agency or shelter for help.
How can you tell someone may be abused by her partner? Here are some of the warning signs:
- Does she try to hide injuries under long sleeves or pants, or have bruising on her torso?
- Does she frequently miss work, social events or family gatherings?
- Does she exhibit bruises in various stages of healing - from deep purple/black to brown or yellow?
- Are her injuries consistent with someone defending herself? (On her hands, feet or on the outside of her arms – areas that would be on the “receiving end” of blows if she was curled up in a defensive posture?)
- Is she reluctant to invite people to the home she shares with her partner?
- Does she appear to be the submissive partner in a relationship with someone who is overly controlling?
If you suspect someone you know is in an abusive relationship:
- Let her know that it’s okay and safe for her to talk to you about it.
- Reinforce with her that you are there to listen to her, no matter what time of the day or night.
- As a first step toward healing, let her know that she is not alone, in spite of the very isolating circumstances and feelings that domestic violence creates.
- If she denies the abuse, let her know that SWiC services are available to help her - or anyone else she might know - who may be interested as domestic violence is a common health concern for women.
SWiC’s 24-Hour Hotline
570.622.6220 or toll free at 800.282.0634
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