While this period of unprecedented downtime may be a godsend to some, it could be a death sentence for those living in violent and unstable households. Sadly, studies show that during times of mass unrest and in the aftermath that follows, domestic violence rates surge. Women and children are especially likely to suffer.

Often, the cycle of abuse continues when children are exposed to such toxic relationship patterns. Fortunately, there’s a sliver of hope amid this turmoil. Read on for suggestions on how you can help a loved one suffering from the vicious cycle of domestic violence.


support

Give your loved one space to honestly share their thoughts and feelings on the situation they’re in. Responding with loving and affirming statements can build up your loved one and give them the strength. The goal is to empower them to take action. When you respond with judgment and criticism it only isolates them further. Remember, it may be incredibly difficult for her to be forthcoming about her tumultuous situation. Talking about it may trigger deep feelings of shame and powerlessness within them.

Some that are well-intentioned think that loving support is similar to an interrogation. They ask questions like, “Why don’t you just leave?” or “Why would you stay with someone that treats you like that?” It can be very difficult for those who have never suffered domestic abuse to imagine and even understand the victim’s mindset.

Abuse is rooted deeply in fear. Fear for one’s own life and for their loved ones. Refrain from asking probing questions that can leave her feeling as if she’s to blame for the situation.

signs of abuse

Physical injuries are not the only outward signs of domestic violence. Many times, the mental effects of abuse also present but can be difficult to pinpoint.  One reason is that the signs can be passed off as traits of the victim’s personality. So be on the lookout for a sudden withdrawal in emotions; this might look like a once outgoing and bubbly person suddenly acting anxious and depressed.

Other signs of the mental effects of abuse include:

  • the victim being afraid to do certain things out of fear of upsetting their partner
  • a reluctance to leave their children with their partner
  • self-isolating from friends and family

you can help

As mentioned above, open, non-judgmental, and loving support is the best immediate relief you can offer. However, if you have discussed taking legal action with the victim, consider consulting a lawyer that has expertise in this area, like  www.leyba-defense.com. Keep in mind that this decision is a big step.  It’s important that you understand that it may take some time for your loved one to feel safe enough to take such an action. No matter what the victim thinks about their situation and what they’re prepared to do to end it, your love and support is already a vital source of hope and comfort.