We’ve created 31 Actions for Gender Justice to raise awareness, spark conversations and take action that transforms gender and power relations, and the structures, norms and values that underpin them. Every day for the month of March we will highlight an action that advances gender equity and justice for International Women’s Day (IWD).

Action 14. Help a Loved One

31 Actions for Gender Justice: Day 14

You may think that talking to a friend or relative who is experiencing abuse doesn’t make a big difference, but it does.

  • Be willing to listen without judging. Be supportive. Show and tell your loved one that you care and you’re concerned.
  • Let your loved one know that abuse is not the survivor’s fault. There is no excuse.
  • Physical safety is the first priority. Women frequently minimize the violence because abuse usually gets worse over time. Ignoring the abuse is dangerous. Suggest your loved one to develop a safety plan in case of emergency. Download and complete BWSS Safety Plan here. A personalized safety plan is a practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Click here to learn more about safety planning. Take Back Your Power!
  • Avoid pressuring your loved one to leave the relationship and using language that may seem controlling or judgmental like “You need to…” “You should…” “Why don’t you…” “You have to…”.
  • Help your loved one with her self-esteem. Tell her what you admire about her; why you value her as a friend; what are her strengths and special qualities.

Remember: You may be the only person your friend or relative can trust. Be attentive, believe what she says, tell her you care, and show her you are willing to help.

To learn more about how you can help a loved one who is experiencing abuse and violence, read our guide How Can I Help my friend?

The better informed you are, the better able you will be to help your friend.

Safety is always at the centre of our work at Battered Women’s Support Services.

BWSS Crisis & Intake Line at 604-687-1867 or toll-free at 1-855-687-1868 for support and information

How can I help a loved one in an abusive relationship?