Help A Victim

Helping someone who is being abused has many parts, and some of them require professional expertise. But there is a lot you can do to help a victim , if you keep the following tips in mind.

Ensure their safety.
Call 911 if it's emergency. In case of domestic violence, call National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233), 24 hours, toll free. You can also call one of the other national hotlines – and there are hotlines just for Muslims, too. Check out these resources.

Seek Medical treatment, if the victim is hurt.
It's important that victims do not hide anything from doctors and nurses or they will not be able to help them fully. If they have been abused before, give that detail to doctors too.

Listen to them.
This is one of the most important things you can do. Be aware of the difference between expressing concern and telling someone what to do. Your job is to encourage them to express their feelings and make their own decisions.

Believe them.
Do not deny the abuse is happening. There are many cases where no one believed the victim until it was too late. Do not pass judgment, or be skeptical.

Offer your unconditional friendship and support.
If it's uncomfortable to discuss the relationship itself, start by helping them feel good about themselves. Show your support, no matter what. Talk to them about their strengths. By rebuilding his/her confidence it becomes easier for the victim to visualize acting to change the situation.

Tell them it is not their fault.
Stress that they do not deserve the abuse and that abuse is NEVER acceptable. Remind them often that you are there for support whenever necessary.

Do not preach.
Tell them that their safety is your priority. Do not give them confusing lectures about Islamic values.

Identify the unhealthy behavior.
Keep track of things you have noticed about the relationship with the abuser. Identify the changes you have seen in your friend's behavior.

Encourage them to build a support system.
A victim of violence needs a broad support system that includes parents, teachers, counselors, and other friends.

Safety Plan
Make sure they have a safety plan. Go over it with them. Perhaps you can keep their important documents and things at your place.

Encourage Seeking Help
Provide support in facing the problem and dealing with it for the sake of each member of the family. Provide support and transportation to places like shelters, legal aid, etc. If you have an Imam you can trust to deal with this situation appropriately, encourage seeking his help first. Check other resources too.

Do not spread gossip.
Gossip can put a victim in danger if it gets back to the abuser, so think before you speak. Even if it doesn’t get back to the abuser – it may get back to the victim and result in them no longer trusting you. Your friend has taken a big step in speaking to you—it is critical that they can trust you with confidential information.

Do not directly confront the abuser.
Avoid all contact whatsoever. Don't put yourself in the middle by offering to be a mediator or go-between -- even mental health professionals will generally not work at the same time with both members of a couple in which there has been domestic violence.

Do not blame the victim.
The victim should never feel as though the abuse is his/her fault. Make it clear that no one has right to abuse another. Explain the dynamics of the cycle of violence.

Do not rush.
Leaving an abusive situation usually takes time and isn't something to rush. Be there and be patient, so the victim can emerge from the problem on his/her own timetable.

Do not try to make them do something.
Don't force your friend to do something s/he may feel uncomfortable doing. The victim needs to make his/her own decisions. It's okay to be persuasive, but not to get angry. Don't try to end the relationship for them.

Know your risks.
Check out the list of risks we have compiled for you.



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