There are several reasons why a woman who is a victim of domestic violence may stay in the relationship despite the toxicity and danger of the relationship:
- Denial of the abuse and hope that the partner will change
- Fear of not being believed or of retaliation
- Shame of breaking up the family and the judgment of society
- Fear of losing her social network
- Lack of financial resources
- Psychological consequences of the violence
- Lack of knowledge of support organizations…
It is therefore essential to respect each person’s pace.
To know what to do as a close relative and how to best help a woman who is a victim of domestic violence, here are a few things to know:
Safety: The first thing is to make sure that the woman and her children are safe, just as you are. If you have any doubts, ask for professional help, call 911 and/or report to the DYP.
At her own pace: As a close relative, it is important to listen to the victim and not to force her to make changes that she is not ready for. Name your fears transparently, denounce the violent behaviours you see, but do not rush her.
Isolation: To increase their influence, abusive partners will often try to isolate their victims. Try to be as present as possible and offer to listen and support, while respecting your limits and safety.
Assistance: Give her the contact information for a shelter or for SOS domestic violence (1-800-363-9010). These calls can remain anonymous and provide listening and advice to both you and the victim.