How to Help the Person in Crisis
- Believe them. Listen to their story, and respect the way they tell it.
- Support them for talking to you. They have taken a risk; they may be worried that you will reject them.
- Don't blame them. Let them know it is not their fault. Remember that if you know their attacker, their feelings about what happened may be mixed. If you express too much anger at their attacker, they may feel the need to defend their attacker.
- Encourage them to get support and information. If you feel comfortable doing so, offer your help to find resources in the community for their protection, advocacy and support. Encourage them to call River House, Inc.
- Respect their space and be patient. Few people make important decisions about a relationship, or report a sexual assault quickly. Help them make plans, but let them make the decisions. Don't judge.
While domestic violence generally happens in the home out of sight of the community, it is nonetheless a community issue. Since domestic violence affects so many people, all community systems need to be involved in victim recovery as well as holding batterers accountable for their behaviors.
An important way to help is to learn about domestic and sexual assault. Organize or attend a Community Education event. See the Announcements portion of our home page for dates and times of community education events.
Community education is an important component to a coordinated community response against domestic and sexual violence. The Community Educator from River House, Inc. can attend a meeting for your group and give a customized presentation on a wide variety of subjects, which may include, but are not limited to: River House, Inc. services, domestic and sexual violence education, dating violence and sexual harassment. If your organization is interested in this service, please contact River House, Inc.
Help from Community Agencies
|Each institution plays and integral part in equalizing power and entitlement in our society.||Studies have long shown that societal norms are at the root cause of violence against women. These causes don't change without a coordinated community response.||I didn't go back this time."
- River House Client
Education can use its resources to maintain open communication about the dynamics of domestic violence and its historical perspective.
"I don't know the future but it can't be as bad as the past."
- River House Client
At all levels educators can be alerted to the signs of domestic or sexual violence and intervene on a pupil's behalf by being an empathic listener and by referring students and/or their parents to domestic or sexual violence services. To ensure a pupil's safety, schools can help students develop and implement safety plans.
The Work Place
An important source of intervention is the work place. Many battered women are employed and their domestic lives have a huge impact on their ability to adequately perform their jobs. American businesses lose between three and five billion dollars annually due to domestic violence. Businesses can make it their business to educate their employees on domestic violence, provide in-house assistance programs and help fund national and local efforts to prevent domestic violence. They can also encourage their employees to donate their time and money to domestic violence shelters. Corporations have a major impact on our governmental policies regarding domestic and sexual violence.
Our churches play an important part in stopping domestic and sexual violence. They can be a safe place for women to go for help. The clergy can speak out against domestic and sexual violence from the pulpit. They can also encourage church members to join together to support shelters by sponsoring social activities on behalf of shelters, by volunteering both time and money to shelters and by supporting intervention policies.
Law enforcement personnel can participate in their local Task Force and continue to be educated regarding the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence. Across the State, many agencies have helped to develop innovative and effective strategies to prevent and prosecute violence against women. These strategies can be publicized and law enforcement personnel can continue to model respect for women and children and continue to demonstrate the seriousness of domestic violence through quick response.
Our Health Care Providers
A battered woman's injuries may only be dealt with in the medical community because she may never call the police or go to a shelter. Annually, 1.5 million women seek medical attention due to battering. Hospitals often offer a unique opportunity to intervene on behalf of a battered woman. They can encourage her to keep herself and her children safe by advocating for her and referring her to the services she requires. Hospital employees have the opportunity to empower the victim by not labeling her with a pathology, but by treating her with dignity and respect. Alert professionals are key to intervention. In addition, many women suffer from emotional abuse and may seek treatment from mental health professionals. Support groups can be developed around these issues.
Our court system makes a huge impact on how domestic and sexual violence is perceived in our communities. With strict adherence to conviction, treatment and compliance, a strong message is sent to the community that domestic violence and sexual is a crime that will not be tolerated. In addition, courts play a big part in protecting women and children by implementing and enforcing custody, visitation and injunctive orders.
Prosecutors can develop their own victim advocate positions and/or work with shelter advocates to help women navigate through the judicial system for their various legal needs. In addition, policies can be followed that eliminate the need for the victim's direct involvement in the batterer's conviction.
Our Sport Organizations
Sporting events, both at the amateur and professional levels, can be used as an outlet to send a positive message to all Americans about preventing domestic violence and sexual assault. Communities can support women's sports by attending games and encouraging girls to participate. Sports heroes can model respect for women and children as well as speak out against violence. They can sponsor special events for domestic violence shelters and encourage volunteerism.
The media can be used in all its forms to educate the community about the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence. Local media can cover special events that portray women in a positive light. They can work with domestic violence shelters to report special events and fundraising activities. They can highlight community resources for women at risk for domestic violence and work to assure that advertising presents both women and men in ways that exhibit strong positive images. When reporting an incidence of domestic violence, the media are in an important position to educate the community.