In knowing or suspecting that someone is a victim of violence, you must also figure out how to help them out. First, you must understand the concept of assault and battery.
Understanding the Difference Between Assault and Battery
By definition, assault refers to an attempt to hurt or injure someone else. Some cases of assault may include threats or threatening behaviors. This is also known as attempted battery.
On the other hand, battery is an intentional offense or harmful touching of another person without their consent or approval. There are different types of battery, including simple, sexual, family-violence, and aggravated battery.
As someone who can help, don’t let any fear stand in the way if you’ve noticed some signs of abuse. All you want to do is help a victim and don’t take it personally if ever they get angry or refuse to talk. You might be the help they’ve been waiting for.
Victims of violence or battery feel alone, isolated, and fearful. Reaching out or getting help can be too hard for them to do. The least you can do is make them feel the opposite. Gently tell them that you’re a safe place they can share anything with, no matter how bad are things. Empathize with their situation and remind them that it’s not their fault that it happened to them.
Here is how to help:
This is the best thing you can do for your loved one who is a victim of violence. Research on definitions and how you can be of help for them. You can also help by reading through legal topics since assault and battery’s definitions differ depending on the state and jurisdiction.
You can ask for help from a professional counselor, whether it’s time to get help from a criminal defense attorney. Wherever you are in the country, research your community’s resources and provide your loved one with the information you found at the right time.
Remain calm and listen to them.
Although it is normal to feel shocked and angry about what happened, you have to maintain your calmness, especially when you’re in front of them. The last thing they want is to see you panicking like they already are. What they want from you is comfort.
Lend a comforting and sympathetic ear and let them know that you dearly care about them. Never force them to talk, but allow them to talk to you whenever they’re ready.
Keep an open mind and be supportive.
If they finally decide to speak with you, remember that this is tough for them, so listen to what they have to say and don’t rush them. Don’t offer any advice or suggest any solutions unless they ask you to. They will probably tell you what they need as they talk.
You can ask some clarifying questions, but be sure to talk in a calm and soothing voice to avoid triggering them. Let them vent out their feelings and fears. Never blame, criticize, or say anything the will make them feel guilty. Don’t underestimate their fear of danger. Let them decide what they want or need and focus on listening and being there for them.
What happened to your loved one is never your story to tell. Therefore, don’t share anything with other people about what happened without their permission.
One of the reasons they might be afraid to reach out and speak up is they’re scared for people to look down on them. They experience shame and guilt. Letting other people know about their situation will deepen their insecurity and fear. So, assure them that what you two are talking about doesn’t leave the room.
Ask their permission.
Especially for sexual abuse victims, they don’t want to be touched because of fear. Ask their permission before you touch or hug them. Make sure that it’s okay for them to place your hand on their shoulder or their arm. Simply asking if they can hug you can be a long way for them to feel safe again.
Be sure that you are taking care of yourself as well.
While you need to help your loved one get through this awful time, you still have to watch your own health and responsibilities. Don’t skip classes or ditch a day of work. A way to do this is to set a day or a time that works for both of you.
Taking care of yourself is also how you take care of your loved one. To help them, you must be well-rested and in the right mind to handle things.