Here is my ‘quick’ advice, to someone desiring to be A supportive friend, to an Abuse Victim:
1- Believe her.…most assuredly, what she is revealing, is the tip of the iceberg…she is testing you out, to see if you are really a ‘safe’ friend.
2-Do NOT ever— recommend couples counseling for her. He will trump her in every group setting. She will be punished for any honesty. She will lose every time. He is not for her, and he is ‘not’ going to change. We do not counsel, based on ‘hope’ of an abuser changing…we counsel, based on his pattern of revealing who, he already is, behind closed doors. There is nothing more dangerous, than a ‘religious man’ pretending to be Godly, while doing ungodly acts when no people are watching.
3-Encouraging her toward a ‘spirit of forgiveness,’ and having a ‘meek and quite spirited,’ in order ‘to win her husband’ is NOT appropriate advice in this situation. It places blame on her, it implies that it ‘takes two to break a marriage’ when it only takes one. She, CANNOT change him. Believe me, if she is reaching out…she has been trying for way too long to ‘fix’ herself, hoping it will FIX HIM. She is not the problem…he is.
4- Any verses shared, should be for her encouragement,
- that her God is just,
- and one that avenges evil doers,
- that God overcomes Evil,
- that God hates a lying tongue,
- and any other similar verses that remind her that she has someone in her corner, who wins every time and that Her God is against, one who harms the weaker vessel.
4-She needs to be reminded that her husband is an unfaithful vow breaker, and that it is HE who is destroying the marriage covenant. If she seeks divorce, SHE IS NOT the one who broke the covenant, it is already broken by the vow breaking abuser. Divorce, is just the legal paperwork, required by the state, to validate what has already happened. She needs to hear from Christians that she is free to leave and not under any bondage to remain in an abusive marriage. Her abuser has abandoned her by making it unsafe for her to love, and live with this man she loves. It is not possible to remain in a home, that is not even safe to be among the other partner.
5-If you ‘KNOW’ she is in an abusive marriage, DIVORCE ‘is’ the path she should be guided toward.
Here are some steps in getting her there.
- she MUST NOT tell her husband
- She must make an escape plan (several are online-she may need to go to a library, to do her research, so there is no way to trace her research.)
- most involve having suitcases at a safe home of a friend, that he would not look for.
- She needs all her ID’s, all of her vital paperwork,
- she needs her car title in her name,
- she needs any ‘evidence’ she can gather against him. Photos of scars, marks, recordings he knows nothing about.
- Most of the time there are no police reports, if it is safe to call the police, she should, so there is a paper trail.
- She needs help finding a divorce lawyer, FAMILIAR with abuse cases.
- She needs a new private email. All correspondence with the lawyer, should only go through that email…that she can access at the library.
- If/when she is ready to leave, she should take everything she loves, or wants…because he may be the type to destroy her stuff, and she may never see favored things again.
- Because she will be starting over, she needs household items, though they may have to disappear to the ‘safe home’ in bits and pieces, so he does not notice.
- Then, when she is ready…she can leave, file for divorce, and be ‘in hiding’ if he is that type of danger.
Don’t give up on her, until you know she is on the other-side of marriage to her abuser.