Abuse is NOT accidental, just as cheating is not accidental! Abusers do not accidentally hit their victims, they don’t accidentally threaten to kill their victims, and they don’t accidentally sexually assault their victims! They do it on purpose! It is how they control their victims.
It is a cycle. They hurt you, you leave, they come begging for forgiveness and giving hundreds of various excuses for their actions (their favorite is always to blame the victim for their actions, they had no self-control because of the victim), and the victim feels sorry for them and takes them back, believing their lies about how it will never happen again. Until it does and the cycle continues.
Until the victim is able to see this pattern of abuse, as others around the victim see it, the victim will never be free. Loved ones can not make the victim see this. If they try, they risk losing that relationship with the victim because the victim WILL make excuses for the abusers actions and deny that there is a problem.
So what can you do if you know someone who is being abused? Well, there are a number of things.
1) You can bring it to her attention. Let her know that you are aware of the situation, but do not try to force her to leave.
2) You can make sure she knows the domestic violence hotline number by giving it to her, posting it to your FB wall, leaving it on her fridge, sneaking it into a gift, anything you can come up with to make sure it is seen by the victim.
3) Never give up on the victim. Be there to provide a shoulder for her to cry on.
4) Document everything you witness!! When the victim finally does decide she’s had enough and wants out, your notes could be what sets her free.
5) Help the victim prepare an escape plan. If you have too, tell her it’s “just in case” something ever happens and she needs to run quickly.
6) Subtly, make sure her close family knows about her situation. Explain that she is not ready to admit that there is a problem yet but you feel that there is and just want to make sure they are aware, just in case.
7) Pray!! An abusive relationship can be compared to an addiction. A drug addict or an alcoholic is not going to seek help until he/she hits “rock bottom” and is able to admit that there is a problem. An abuse victim must also do the same. Pray that she will “see the light” and want to get out!
*Note, the same holds true if the victim is a man – which, we all know, is also just as possible.