Domestic Violence

To an outsider's eye, the issue of domestic violence can be black and white: Just leave. For those left physically and emotionally black and blue, that zero-tolerance perspective isn't as clear, creating a disconnect between the abused and those who care for them.

A 2010 CDC survey found that more than one in three women and more than one in four men had experienced violence by an intimate partner.)

 

Tips for family and friends from the National Domestic Violence Hotline

• Don't be afraid to express concern and say you want to help.

• Acknowledge that the situation is difficult and scary, and not their fault.

• Listen, be supportive, and remember that it may be hard to talk about the abuse.

• Be non-judgmental and respectful of their decisions.

• Offer encouragement and include your loved one in activities outside the relationship.

• Help your loved one develop a safety outline for when they might be ready to flee.

• Be understanding if your friend feels sad and lonely once the relationship is over.

• Encourage the abused to talk to a local domestic violence agency.

• Offer to accompany your loved one to the police, court or a lawyer when they're ready.

• Remember that you cannot "rescue" anyone, although seeing a loved one hurt is difficult.