Violence is at our homes, our schools, on the street corner, police stations, war zones, churches, and even hospitals. If you ever asked yourself “How can I help victims of violence?” then here is the answer.
Types of Violence
It comes in its entire broad forms of violence; physical, social, economic, emotional, and spiritual. Most of us find it unacceptable and try to walk around it pretending it does not exist. We keep quiet about it in the hope that it will go away, or at least not come too close.
There is domestic violence in the home between husband and wife, parents and children. There is rape, a physically intimate violence against women, ethnic violence between races and tribes. Talk of robberies, muggings, stabbing, fighting, shooting, and all other physical attacks.
Effects of Violence
With emotional violence, spouses neglect each other, lovers turn down their partners. Parents neglect their children. Some deliberately fail to work and provide for their families.
Many children drop out of school, many girls are drawn to the evil commercial sex business to vend for themselves.
Employers take advantage of their employees or young people seeking jobs and lure them to unacceptable practices in the society. These are just few in the long endless list.
Food for thought
As much as it is not pleasant to consider violence or be with victims of violence, they need our support. We need to know how best we can support them. Without our help, victims of violence all round us will become victims of our own ignorance and insensitivity.
It is unfortunate that many times victims of violence have been misunderstood, made to feel guilty or badly hurt by their friends and families. Neglect by friends of victims who have been looking for a safe place, comfort, and hope steers great hurt than the initial offense.
From the victim’s eye
Think of it from the victim’s eye. Wear their shoe and imagine the pain they are going through. Assume their emotions and think of what you would like done to you in such as state of hopelessness. They need your support whether they tell you about it or not.
It is not necessary to experience violence ourselves in order to help someone through a frightening time. The following are some tips to help them.
How can I help victims of violence?
Open your mind and heart to them
Don’t blame them for their experience. All blame is a wastage of time. Blaming them will not change a thing. I learnt of parents that chased away their daughter for falling pregnant only to later learn she was a helpless victim of rape. A trusted first cousin took advantage of her and messed her up. They need your heart as much they need your mind. Be kind towards them, give them the best encouraging words.
Listen to their story
Many people are very poor in this. They rush to provide solutions instead of listening to the whole story. You will hear them saying they are going to take action against the offender and end up locking up the hurt that could have been relieved by letting victims talk about it.
Personally, I would share my whole story because it will give me some relieve. What about you? Give them a chance to talk about it. They might be sobbing all along. Do not silence their tears, weeping is one of the mechanisms the body uses to heal. Give them attention – be a good listener. It is not the best news, but it’s worthy listening.
Be there for them
Comfort them in such tough times. Remind them “tough times never last, but tough people do”. Be there with them when they feel frightened and vulnerable. Be a friend who will be there when they hurt and who will stay with them whenever they need your support. Help them know that they do not have to cope alone. Do whatever you can to help them feel safe.
Provide necessary assistance
If they need medical, legal or financial assistance help them. You might not be in a position to help them with all these, but make an effort to do best the little you can. Help them find the right people to help them. Be a right person yourself.
There are those men who like taking advantage of vulnerable women. I have one word for you. Better, keep off if you cannot be of value. Think of that lady as your child, sister, girlfriend, fiancée, or even your mum and make up your mind to be kind to her. Do not molest her in the name of comfort. Be a real man and do what is right in light and in darkness.
The same applies to women. Treat that man with care, help him in his threatening moments. Do all this without expectation of any favors – your reward lies with God.
Hopefully you have found tips to your question “How can I help victims of violence?”
You can also check out an open letter to people battling with addiction.