According to the UN, violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent, and devastating human rights violations in our world today and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma, and shame surrounding it. A report by WHO- states that “across their lifetime, 1 in 3 women, around 736 million, are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner – a number that has remained largely unchanged over the past decade”.
This alarming statistic points to why we should do our best to help women that are stuck in abusive situations. To raise awareness on International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, we came up with a list of ways that you can help women around you who are in abusive situations.
Lend a listening ear
Abused women often find it hard to share their experiences with others, but when they finally get the courage to do so, the first and best thing you can do is to lend a listening ear and let them pour out their heart to you.
In lending a listening ear or helping hand to an abused woman, avoid being judgmental in your feedback or advice. Speak with empathy and compassion, without blaming or shaming the victim. Asking why they didn’t see the signals or violence in their abuser or why they didn’t leave earlier are statements that might appear judgmental. No matter how hard your itching to make these comments, DON’T ! and just offer comfort.
Offer Physical and Financial Support
Many women are unable to leave their abusers because they lack the physical and financial support they need to exit the relationship or environment. Offering support as an individual or as a group would go a long way to help abused women to leave their abusers.
Do your best to get them away from their abuser
Although, you cannot force an abused person to leave their abuser, try your possible best to help them get out. Following the advice listed in this article, informing the police or human rights agencies, family and close friends of the abused woman are some ways you can help get them away from their abuser. This might not always work out, especially when the abused person isn’t willing to leave, but as the popular saying goes-it is better to try and fail than not try at all.
Always check on her
An abusive environment can go from 0-100 times worse and fatal, especially for the woman. Check on the abused frequently to be sure they are okay and alive while you continue to work towards helping them get out totally.
Get or advise them to get professional help
Most times, as individuals, there’s only so much we can do to help an abused person- especially when there’s physical violence involved. In such cases, advise the victim to get professional help e.g. help from the police, a professional therapist, a lawyer, etc. If you can afford to help them get this help or if you have information on how to help them get the right help, please do.
In the spirit of International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women 2022, let’s raise awareness about this and also render assistance wherever and in whichever way we can.
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