Why Do We Start By Believing?
When times are hard, friends and loved ones gather around for support.
This happens all the time - at a funeral, a home invasion, a bad storm or a threatening diagnosis. During those times, no one blames the victim for what has happened.
All that is offered is unconditional support.
It should be the same with intimate partner violence. Abusive relationships are unpredictable and just as devastating. However, all too often victims who work up the courage to tell someone are not believed.
Worse yet, victims are often blamed.
Then, a terrifying incident and tenuous relationship become a source of shame and secrets - not support. And that pain ripples with destructive effects on families, communities and the very fabric of our society.
Intimate partner violence hurts everyone.
SafeHaven of Tarrant County is dedicated to ending domestic violence. That change starts with the way we respond to intimate partner violence in our homes and neighborhoods. With the important message of "Start By Believing," our goal is to pave the way for survivors to pursue justice and healing, so the decision to come forward and seek help is a safe one.
Please join us, and help transform this message into a reality in Tarrant County.
How To Respond
Listen and Believe
First and foremost, listen. It takes a lot of courage and strength to offer an outcry, so it's important that outcry is met with a listening ear and open heart.
Don't Blame Her
Our culture has a common phrase we learn as children: it takes two to tango. In relationships marred by violence, it only takes one. There is nothing that justifies abuse, so don't ask the victim what her role was in the incident. She already feels shame, and questioning her contribution only makes it worse.
Offer Unconditional Support
Often, our gut instinct is to think, "If I were her, I'd just leave!" Victims know their abusers best, and likewise, know how to navigate their relationship best. It takes most victims between six and nine attempts to leave their abuser before that separation is permanent. Remind her that leaving the relationship is not a condition of your support.
Let the Victim Guide Her Journey
Your friends has confided in you because she trusts you. Offer support and resources. Let her navigate the process of leaving. Give her SafeHaven's 24-hour emergency hotline: (877) 701-7233.
Call Us With Questions
SafeHaven operates the only domestic violence hotline for Tarrant County and has trained bilingual advocates who answer 24/7. The hotline number is (877) 701-7233.