How to Support a Woman in Crisis
Domestic abuse is an uncomfortable topic in our society.
Many of us don't know how to help a woman in an abusive relationship. The first step is knowing what domestic abuse is as 1 in 3 women will be affected by it in her lifetime.
Definition of domestic violence: “a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person to control and subordinate another in an intimate relationship. These behaviors may include physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse.” Oregon Domestic Violence Council.
In addition to the types of abuses listed, others include emotional, verbal, sexual, spiritual, property damage. Know that there is no excuse for abuse, and it is not a woman’s fault. The dynamics of this behavior is explained more specifically in the Power and Control and Cycle of Abuse. It is important to know that there is a cyclical pattern to this behavior causing false hope and confusion for any woman.
Three Key Goals
Rev. Marie Fortune - FaithTrustInstitute.org
Safety for the victim and her children
Accountability for the abuser
Restoration of relationship (if possible) or mourning loss of relationship
Seven Things to Say
Sarah Buel, former battered women, national expert & trainer on domestic violence
- I am really sorry to hear this is happening to you.
- I am afraid for your safety.
- I am afraid for the safety of your children.
- I am afraid it will only get worse. (say it in a non-blaming way)
- I will help you find someone who can help.
- You do not deserve to be treated this way.
- I will not tell anyone what we discussed.
Three Questions to Ask
kindly and without judgement
- Do you feel afraid in your home?
- Has he hit you?
- If so, has he ever choked/strangled you?
- Women who have been strangled are 750 times more likely to be killed
- What does he do when he gets angry?
Seven Reminders for Church Leaders/Other Support Persons
- Be a good listener if she shares her story
- Be compassionate - not judgmental
- Understand the importance of confidentiality and the risks involved
- Refer her (and him) to local resources for help (individually!)
- Protect and support her and the children
- Help keep the husband accountable
- Pray with her
Does your church or organization want a personalized training?
Contact Living Waters of Hope regarding having Founder/Executive Director, Diane Schnickels, talk to your group about domestic abuse and creating safe environments for women impacted by domestic abuse