Trigger warning: tHe following ARTICLE CONTAINS CONTENT ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. This is not a comprehensive article. if you have further resources to provide, please comment below.
Written by Cynthia Pathmathasan
Think of your group of friends. Imagine 1 in 3 of your friends experiencing abuse. Terribly high, right?Well, this is in fact the cold, hard truth. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience some form of abuse within their lifetime. How can you help? Stop the violence by breaking the silence! Acknowledging the grave realities of those living with domestic violence and sexual abuse is an easy way to advocate for this much needed cause. This article will provide you some quick tools and useful resources, empowering you to recognize the various signs of abuse, readily support & comfort survivors, and inspire them to remove themselves from such toxic environments.
As a friend, a colleague, or mentor, you are sure to have someone in your life that looks to you for support and courage. You possess the power to empower such individuals in your life. Educate yourself and those around you on the basis of a healthy relationship. What exactly does a healthy relationship entail?
- Open communication: Relationships are a two-way street. There must be mutual trust and respect towards each other’s interests and opinions
- Respect: Possess the ability to openly share each other’s achievements and failures as well as acknowledge and respect each other’s emotional, digital, and sexual boundaries
- Trusting: There should be no need to prove your whereabouts to your significant other. Open communication allows them to trust you and vice versa
- Equal: Make decisions together and follow through with each others wishes
- Enjoying personal time: You both can enjoy time together or apart, without questioning where the other is or getting jealous
Although this list may seem pretty straightforward to some, you’d be surprised how many are unaware to the fact that certain aspects of their relationship, such as enjoying time apart, is in fact essential to a healthy one. Unhealthy and abusive relationships are built on a foundation of power and control. If you feel someone in your life’s partner (or your own) is limiting their ability to enjoy themselves without him/her, carry out their passions and hobbies, or privacy, don’t look away.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out. Allow them to feel safe, reminding them they are not alone. Let them know you are concerned for their safety and want better for them.
- Listen. Acknowledge their feelings, conflicts, and decisions. DO NOT question their decision to stay with their partner all this time. Ensure that, regardless of their choice, they feel no judgement to talking to you. If they break up with their partner, STILL keep up with them to make sure they continue to be okay.
- Help them understand abuse is NOT normal. Do not just tell.
- Focus on them, not their partner.
- Connect them to local resources. Numerous women’s health agencies and crisis centers have 24/7 crisis hotlines. Recommend this option to your friend, family or use it for yourself in times of need, feelings of helplessness, and emergencies.
- Do not confront the abuser- this will only make it worse for your friend.
- Always remember: the abused aren’t restricted to just women. Men are just as susceptible to abuse and violence.
It is important to acknowledge this fact: You don’t need be an expert, you just need to be a friend. If you ever find yourself or a loved one in an abusive situation, be firm and consistent with your decisions, whether that is caring for yourself, or empowering those in your life. If you want to make a more global impact, I encourage you to get involved with your local community. Advocate using the resources available to you for free at http://www.loveisrespect.org/.
Currently, I am raising funds to be donated to my local rape crisis center, Townhall II. The fundraiser is aimed at raising money for the center as well as spreading awareness about the Mary Kay “Don’t Look Away” campaign. Through this campaign, I am selling Mary Kay’s NouriShine Lip gloss and Lash Intensity Mascara for just $12. All profits will go towards the fund and I am taking donations as well. Anyone who makes any form of donation will be entered to win a free mini Satin Hands kit. Check out the following link if this is something you are interested in: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=VlbRrg7Hk0imjBM_xg7fNob7SPJt_7lIrMmHyvFV0xdUNTdPR1lXRlhZMDZSVlZRVUVTNThQU0ZMNS4u.
Additionally, Mary Kay has a ‘Makeovers for Good’ log that allows me to donate beauty experiences for sexual abuse and domestic violence survivors and advocates, as well as nurses, social workers, teachers, etc. to the Mary Kay Foundation. Beauty experiences are of course free of charge and catered to the needs of anyone interested! Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or to book an appointment!
Thank you for your time and remember, you are NEVER alone.
- 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
- 24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673
- Love is Respect: http://www.loveisrespect.org/
- Mary Kay Don’t Look Away Campaign: https://www.marykay.com/en-us/about-mary-kay/social-responsibility/dont-look-away
- No More: https://nomore.org/
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If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me!