Pervasive and widespread, woman abuse and sexual violence harm
women of all ages, sexual orientations, racial and ethnic backgrounds,
socio-economic classes and religions.
How To Support
What Can I Do?
Listen to her. Believe her. Let her talk while you listen with an open mind.
Give her clear messages to help her understand that:
- abuse is not okay
- it is not her fault
- her abuser is responsible for his own actions
- priorities are her safety and the safety of her children
- help is available
Share what you know. Help her develop a safety plan, which involves identifying the steps needed to increase safety and preparing for the possibility of further violence.
Help her find local support services for women in crisis at Getting help and finding a Shelter. Understand that you may need to go with her.
Support her through this process. Show care, concern, and empathy by offering to look after her children while she seeks help and by offering your home as a safe haven.
Respect her wishes. Accept and appreciate her decisions. She may refuse your help. Don’t take it personally. Understand if she decides to stay.
Learn more about supporting abused women and talking to men who are abusive. Educate yourself by visiting http://www.neighboursfriendsandfamilies.ca/ Neighbours, Friends and Families is a campaign to raise awareness about woman abuse. The campaign can even help you understand the most effective way to talk to an abusive man, which is a key part of preventing violence against women. Visit http://www.neighboursfriendsandfamilies.ca/talking-to-the-abusive-man.html?q=how-to-help/talking-to-abusive-men to feel confident about talking to an abusive man about his behaviour.
And remember, this could be a matter of life or death. So please, don’t be a bystander.
Understand… and then act.