Opinion: What survivors of Domestic Violence Really Need

October 6th, 2014  |  Published in News

The Cincinnati Enquirer published an editorial from Women Helping Women’s Executive Director, Kendall Fisher. Read below…

Opinion: What victims of domestic violence really

need

Ray Rice and wife

 

Kendall Fisher 12:05 a.m. EDT October 5, 2014

 

(Photo: File photo )

Kendall Fisher is executive director of Women Helping Women.

Recently, we’ve seen the national and local headlines about high-profile domestic violence cases, and we’ve heard the public asking, “Why did she stay?”

As we begin a month of events to mark October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I write this letter to the women and men in abusive relationships, and also to those attempting to support survivors or understand why a survivor stays.

To the survivors: You and I both know why survivors stay. For you, and hundreds of other people in similar situations across the Tri-state, the answer isn’t an easy one. You and I know that sometimes a person’s decision to leave saved her or his life. And we also know that sometimes, the decision to stay is what’s kept her or him alive. You and I know that everyone is quick to denounce domestic violence, but many are also quick to judge the woman or man who stays.

What you may not know is no matter what decision you make, the dedicated staff and volunteers at Women Helping Women are here to help you and other women, men, and families suffering from domestic violence. We know that there is no one right answer. We know that your decision to stay or leave is yours alone.

Women Helping Women advocates assist survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking in Hamilton County. But if you’re in Butler, Warren, Clermont, Kenton, Boone, or Campbell County, our staff can connect you to the right agency in your area. These groups will partner with you to do all they can to keep you safe, and help you make the right decision for you.

To those struggling to help someone suffering from abuse, or to those struggling to understand why a domestic violence survivor stays: What these women, men and children need are friends, family and a community that does not judge them, question why they stay or attempt to persuade them to leave.

Survivors need for you to believe them – to believe IN them. They need you to let them know that the abuse they suffer is not their fault and they don’t deserve it. They need you to provide resources to help them develop a safety plan, whether they stay in their relationship or leave.

Survivors need for you to educate yourself and others about domestic violence. Women Helping Women’s Community Outreach educators are happy to meet with your school, work, church or other group to provide information on recognizing the signs of domestic violence, responding appropriately to survivors and taking a stand in your community.

Volunteer for Women Helping Women, the YWCA, Women’s Crisis Center or another domestic violence agency in your community. Agencies such as these need compassionate, dedicated volunteers to assist survivors, promote understanding and make a positive difference in their communities.

Attend awareness events this month throughout the Tri-state. The Candlelight Vigil on October 7 remembers the domestic violence homicide victims in our community, and Bark Out Against Battering Pet Fest on October 25 increases awareness and understanding of the links between pet abuse and domestic violence.

And most importantly, domestic violence survivors need you to respect their choices. Understand that staying is sometimes the safest choice, and each and every survivor of domestic violence has a unique situation that should not be judged at first glance. Stand by them and respect them enough to help them get in touch with the right resources.

If you know someone suffering from physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological abuse – or if that’s you – please call us day or night at (513) 381-5610. Women Helping Women is here to help you, support you, and give you the resources you need.