Gone were the days, gender-based violence seemed far. These days almost every girl or woman you meet has at a point in time been a victim of abuse.
Gender-based violence is defined as any form of a harmful act perpetrated against a person’s will. GBV can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and financial abuse.
Research has shown that 3 out of every 5 women have been a victim of a form of gender-based violence in their lifetime. Last year, there was a black and white challenge that symbolized women standing up for those women who have lost their lives to gender-based violence. A challenge which originated from Turkey as a result of an increase in the number of women who were killed by their partners.
It’s no news that the lockdown due to COVID-19 has locked down many of these abuse victims with their predators. And the reports on gender-based violence incidents have risen at a geometric rate.
Now that we all know that this menace is nearer than we think. How do we help if we find a friend or neighbor in severe pain as a result of abuse? Here are 4 easy ways you can help a Survivor
1) Listen and believe the survivor: One of the primary things a survivor of violence needs is for you to just sit and listen sincerely. Patiently listen to the survivor without freaking out. There is also a need to make the survivor know that you believe their story. Affirm to them in words that you believe them.
2) Ask how you can be of help: The next step is to ask what they might need you to do for them. As much as you might have ideas on your mind. You need to note the situation is not about you, but about the survivor. So be patient enough to seek out their opinions before taking steps. For example, who do they want to talk to? where do they want to go?
3) Avoid shaming the survivor: like it was mentioned in then second point, when helping a GBV Survivor you need to respect boundaries, be sensitive to how they feel and play the blame game, avoid any form of shaming. Make them comfortable and put them in charge of their own healing process.
4) Give helpful information: Inform the survivor about the different resources available to help them. You can accompany them to get medical attention or to make a report at a police station. You can also refer them to outlets they can get professional counseling, but avoid pressurizing survivors to make decisions. Let them make decisions of their own free will.
When you give the above-mentioned support to a survivor of an abuse, they will surely leave you in a better spirit than they came. And they will be energized to take the necessary steps so they don’t become victims again.