TEN COMMANDMENTS IN INTERACTION WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS by Delishia Mitchem Domestic Violence is an issue for people of all walks of life. Regardless of social class, gender, economic background or ethnic group, domestic violence is prevalent. Current studies show that one out of every four women is a victim of domestic violence, and there are rising numbers in the male population. This takes the form of emotional, verbal and physical abuse. As a domestic violence survivor, I am compelled to share the following commandments for interaction with domestic violence victims and survivors.
This is not simply crisis counseling, but it is specialized with a systematic approach. When interacting with the victim of domestic violence, it is important to govern yourself by the following commandments: 1. Thou shall not make the victim feel as if he/she lacks intelligence and common sense. While he/she chose the partner, he/she did not actively choose to be abused. 2. Thou shall not give unsolicited advice. During the decision-making process, the victim needs both the freedom to make choices and the support of a listening ear. 3.
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Thou shall not waste time talking about the perpetrator and his/her ill-fated future. Instead, time and attention needs to be directed toward the victim as a plan is developed for survival. 4. Thou shall not tell the victim that they helped to cause the problem. That is “perpetrator mentality” (Read “The Types of Domestic Abuse”). Nothing the victim has said and/or done provides justification for his/her suffering. 5. Thou shall encourage the domestic violence victim with phrases such as “You are an overcomer” and “You have our support”.
This is a crucial time and the victim will not want to feel alone in the transition. 6. Thou shall listen to the victim with an objective mind. 7. Thou shall locate a secure method of transportation and place of abode, to secure the victim and any other family members from the perpetrator. Do not provide the address and telephone numbers to others, especially during the first months of the transition. 8. Thou shall not have communication with the perpetrator in reference to the abuse, as a means of understanding or reconciliation.
Studies will clearly show that perpetrators react in a more violent way towards the victim after he/she has shared it with someone else. 9. Thou shall connect the victim with resources for all needs, so he/she will have no reason to return to the place of residence after making the transition. (There are some stores that provide clothing, toiletries and food to domestic violence victims. Check with your local domestic violence shelter. ) 10. Thou shall pray with the victim and direct him/her to scriptures for encouragement and empowerment.
Continually emphasize a closer relationship with the Lord. A time of tribulation with domestic violence is not a final determination on one’s life; it can simply be a turning point for greater things ahead. God bless you as you help others align with their God-directed destiny. Suggested Reading Family and Friends’ Guide to Domestic Violence: How to Listen, Talk and Take Action When Someone You Care About is Being Abused by Elaine Weiss (Paperback – Oct 1, 2003)
It’s My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence — Old Edition by Meg Kennedy Dugan and Roger R. Hock (Paperback – April 2000) Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence: A Workbook for Women (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Edward S. , Ph. D. Kubany, Mari A. McCaig, and Janet R. Laconsay Handbook of Domestic Violence Intervention Strategies: Policies, Programs, and Legal Remedies by Albert R. Roberts and Marjory D. Fields (Hardcover – Feb 28, 2002)