Help a friend escape domestic violence

Avon and British non-profit Refuge are joining together to launch an awareness drive for domestic violence. An astonishing one in four women will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime. “Sadly, we all probably know someone this is happening to right now,” explains the narrator in their Youtube video campaign.

Abusive situations are often difficult to get out of since one of the first steps of abuse is to break down the victim’s independence and self-esteem. Support from friends and loved ones can be the ticket to pulling a woman out of a violent relationship. Unfortunately, without the right information you may not pick up on the signs of domestic violence and unknowingly say things that actually discourage her from seeking help.

This beautiful “choose your own adventure”-style video series guides you through how to respond to and support a friend who may be reaching out from such a situation. Scroll below for the cheat sheet. Please watch and share!

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1. But he seems so nice! Most abusers “don’t seem like the type.” They are charming, popular and likeable, and only reveal the violent and controlling side of their personalities in private. They try to hide it from others and/or are in denial of their abuse.

2. Maybe he was just drunk. Abusers often use alcohol as an excuse for their behavior, though they can also be abusive without it. The fact is, there is no excuse for domestic violence. Just because he only gets violent when “not in his right mind” does not lessen the weight of his actions.

3. Did you provoke him? “Many women blame themselves for domestic violence. The truth is that violence is a choice, so the abuser and only the abuser is responsible for his behavior,” explains the video.

4. Why don’t you just leave? It’s not that easy. She may have no one to go to, no money and be scared. Leaving a violent partner exposes a victim to its own set of dangers. Show her love and support and don’t make decisions for her or blame her for not following your advice.

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