Whether it’s you or a friend in an abusive relationship, the most important thing you can do is seek help. Numerous resources exist for victims of abuse. I have listed a few below. However, none of these resources work if you do not choose to take action. If it’s a friend, make the effort to ask them if something is wrong and offer to help. If you find yourself in one of these situations, you need to make the decision to defend yourself. Not by physical action, rather by acknowledging that you need help and reaching out to family, friends, or one of the resources below.
Gavin de Becker in his book The Gift of Fear describes how victims of abuse can come to believe that they are not worth protecting. This false perception is similar to a problem in self-defense situations where certain people, particularly women, will do anything to protect others (e.g., children) but not themselves. Tony Blauer’s solution to overcome this mental obstacle is to identify something that is personal, passionate, and present, whether it is your son, daughter, favorite food, or something else entirely. Then you can use this to create a sense of indignation by realizing the attacker or abuser is trying to take that thing away from you. If you are no longer around, who is going to care for and protect your children?
No form of abuse can be justified. Regardless of if its spousal abuse, child abuse or date rape, it should not be tolerated. If you recognize the signs, offer to help. If you find yourself in one of these difficult situations, know that help is there for you.