There are plenty of reasons to dislike a vina’s S.O.—some more valid than others. Maybe they hate your favorite band or chew with their mouth open. But sometimes the disapproval is rooted in something much more serious than that like, say, the abusive nature of their relationship. Seeing a person we love in an abusive relationship is not only troubling but also downright scary, and confronting them about it is crucial for these very reasons.
Relationship abuse rears its ugly head in tons of different ways. Sexual, physical, and emotional abuse are fairly well publicized, but according to the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness, relationship abuse can also occur in the form of economic, psychological, and even academic abuse.
Signs of abuse include but are not limited to: isolating a vina from her loved ones, making threats, gaslighting, yelling at her, criticizing her, publicly degrading her, stalking her, physically hurting her, and more. A comprehensive list of different categories and examples of relationship abuse can be found here.
If you suspect a vina is suffering one or more of these abuses, here are some tips for how to most effectively navigate the convo:
BE FULLY PRESENT.
A topic as weighty as this requires your full attention. Leave your phone at home, head to a private spot and listen!
LET YOUR VINA KNOW HOW WORRIED YOU ARE ABOUT HER.
Come prepared with a list of specific instances when you feared for her wellbeing so your concerns become immediately clear to her. Your vina’s health and happiness are your main priorities—that’s why you’re there.
AVOID SHAMING AND BLAMING YOUR VINA.
Victim blaming, although most often discussed in the context of sexual abuse, can occur with all types of abuse. Steer clear of accusatory or easily misconstrued statements. Let her know you’re always there for her.
UNDERSTAND YOU’RE NOT A PROFESSIONAL.
Assist your vina in seeking out the help she needs, whether it be relocating to a shelter, going to the police or finding a counselor. Be a shoulder to cry on, but know your limits.
RESPECT HER DECISIONS.
Although you may disagree with how she chooses to handle things, remember you have not experienced what she is experiencing. Often times, victims of abuse remain with their abusers, which can be attributed to a whole variety of reasons. Being supportive is always the default.
(Feature image via Kelsey Austin Walsh)