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 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 don't know how complex living with a batterer is. They don't know how manipulative, threatening, and smart he is. How he's got the bases cover, which includes making his victim afraid to leave for fear she'll "lose the kids," for fear that he'll kill her, for knowing that he has allies who will help him find her.

Never mind bestowing 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, listen.
It might eventually pay off when she decides she's had it and remembers your kindness.

The holdiay season is probably the worst time for victims of domestic violence. Keep your eyes open, a welcome mat at your door, and your mouth shut.

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