One of the worst moments in the life of any person is to face a crime of gender violence, or sexist violence, either in a primary way (as a woman who suffers it) or in a secondary way (as a friend or relative of a woman who is suffering). Today we are going to focus, above all, on how to cope with a situation of gender violence by seeing it from the outside. And it is that although the most complicated thing is, without a doubt, living it as a victim, it is also very difficult to face it and not know how to help the person you love.
Crimes of sexist violence are not limited to murders, but rather they are the end result of constant and general mistreatment suffered by a woman. Gender violence is also control, jealousy, possession, verbal and physical threats … Because that also hurts. All these forms of violence must be nipped in the bud, and what better way than to let the victim know that they have a hand ready to help whenever they need it. But how can we help a woman who is experiencing this situation?
It is essential to know how to see the situation
The most important thing is knowing how to see and detect gender violence. Normally, it tends to be very complicated since both the victim and the aggressor hide it to avoid the repercussions that telling it would have; she is afraid that it will go to more, and he does not want to be judged for it. However, there are always some clues that can make us see that something is happening.
If a woman in your environment changes radically when a relationship begins, this is undoubtedly a red flag . The clues can be confusing : she may just start dressing more discreetly at first, or stop hanging out with her friends, or slowly isolate herself from her family. You may see how his social networks are falling into oblivion, or how he begins to make comments related to ” I have to talk to him before I decide “, ” he does not want me to go out ” or things like that. Unfortunately, it may not be that alarming . It may just start to disappear from your life little by littleand, finally, you end up not knowing anything about her. In that case, the best thing you can do is ask subtly what is wrong with him; that she does not notice any kind of suspicion or reproach, but healthy concern.
At this point, two things can happen: she may decideo open up, or I may continue without wanting to be helped. The most common is that the latter happens, in which case you will have no choice but to continue watching and waiting. It is important, very important, that you do not directly accuse her of anything or her or her partner, since you do not know the situation that you could be unleashing. But don’t abandon her for not being helped; stay by his side. Remember that sexist violence is an atrocious burden , and that she is the most affected.
If he decides to open up, show him all your support and understanding , and talk about the ways he can get out of there . You can report, you can call 016 and ask for help and, above all, you should go to a psychology professional to help you understand that nothing that has happened is your fault. Only then can he heal both physically and psychologically.
What if he doesn’t allow himself to be helped?
One of the most complicated situations is, without a doubt, having to accept that a woman who is suffering sexist violence does not want to be helped. It is not her fault: she is in a relationship of abuse and power that makes him feel that nothing she does or says will have value. It is important to make him see all this, to open his eyes, but always with the greatest possible tact.
If there are no visible physical injuries, that you report on their behalf will have little value, although it is recommended that you do so as long as you have some type of reliable evidence . She may defend him, she may even want to remove you from her circle of friends, but it is important that you try to fight for her, to dialogue, to get her out of all that. To make him see that this is not love. If there are physical injuries, you must report without delay, since you do not know what those physical injuries could lead to.
It should be noted that this whole situation is, in itself, extremely complex. The best thing you can do is contact an association of battered women so that they can advise you what steps you should follow; It would also be a good idea if you try to get the association to talk to the woman who suffers sexist violence, since it is much more likely that she will be able to get out of all this if she is really supported. In addition, you can reflect on the testimonies of other women, you will see that you are not alone.
Maintain your integrity
It is essential that you stay strong, that you serve as real support . Although it is difficult not to get carried away by fear, impotence and anger, remember that the one who is really suffering is her. The one who is watching her life unravel at times, and the one who will have to deal with all the memories of that relationship, will be her. She will need as much understanding as possible, to be comforted by her circle.
If you don’t feel capable, ask for help yourself . But never come face to face with your attacker, not because that could harm you (which too), but because of the repercussions it could have on the life of the woman who is sharing her life with him. He could end up doing something extreme if he finds himself between a rock and a hard place, and that’s precisely the last thing we want. Therefore, be careful and try to always walk with lead feet.
Be careful, and don’t give up. Talk to other people around her, try to find out if they know anything more about the subject and, above all, take care of her whenever possible.