Sunday, November 6, 2011


The women at the shelter have been nagged and insulted plenty. Everyone who learns that they're battered can't believe they don't "leave the jerk." Some friends or "safe" family may offer them a place to stay until they can establish their own home. Some offer money, help with the kids, even promise to "teach the creep a lesson."

They think they're helping and sometimes they are, if a battered woman's situation is critical enough.

Just one problem: they have no idea how complex living with a batterer is. They don't know how manipulative, threatening, and clever he is. Could earn an Oscar being the "Nice Guy."

They don't khow how completely he's got the bases covered, including making his victim fear for her life if she leaves, threatening her that she'll lose the kids or get deported, since he holds her "papers." They don't know he he has allies who will help him find her, sometimes in the police department.

So don't bestow advice if someone discloses she needs to leave her batterer. You can offer her a room. You can give her the name of the National or Local Domestic Vioence Hot Line. You can treat her like she's doing the best she can, because she is.

And mostly, you can listen.
It might pay off when she decides she's had it and remembers your kindness.

The holdiay season is fast approaching and probably the worst time for victims of domestic violence.

So keep your eyes open, a welcome mat at your door, and your mouth shut.
And listen..


Jessica Brown said...

Very well written and insightful. Thanks for this.

Patricia H. Aust said...

You're welcome! Hope I get to visit the kids at the shelter tomorrow.
Pat Aust