Sensitive and unbiased are two words that one must never forget when talking to a survivor of violence and abuse. Not providing a supportive environment can have adverse effects on the mental health of the survivors. Lack of support and reassurance can at times even make them tolerate the abuse for the sake of society.
But, we must not forget that we are the change-makers of society and must work together to make communities a safe space for survivors.
What can you do to help survivors?
- Reach out to the concerned person in a safe space and time. Express your concern in a non-threatening manner. (Example – I am concerned that someone is hurting you and I am worried about your safety)
- Be good listeners: many times even just listening to what a person has to share makes them feel strong and supported. A mere act of listening can make the survivors feel more comfortable and accepted in a society like ours.
- Let them know that you are there for them: Being there for someone can make them feel powerful. Look out for them and regularly ask them if they need your help with something.
- Be respectful of the choices and decisions made by the survivor. You have to be patient about the choices the survivor makes. Self-empowerment is a long process. It will have to happen at the pace of the survivor and not yours.
- Try calling the domestic violence helpline yourself. Do not on behalf of your friend but call to learn about the help available and how to be more supportive in the situation you are in.
Healing can be a long journey for the survivors, but your support can make a difference. Looking out for people who require support is the least you can do to make their lives easier.
Be the friend, the partner, the parent or the neighbour that our society needs.
Be the changemaker.
If you or someone you know is being subjected to domestic violence please call 1800 212 9131, if it is unsafe to call please text us at 9333 40 4141.