#MeToo has been all over social media in the past and now there are many other hashtags that people are using. The campaign is about women using the hashtag along with Me Too to tell about their stories of domestic violence. Some of the stories I have read range all over the place. They are about abusive relationships, rape, crazy nights they cannot remember due to a drug slipped into their drink and just plain rude comments that women sometimes experience growing up.
As I read these I am proud that some of these women are standing up for the first time to tell their story, or using it as a great way to have a conversation about domestic violence and how it has affected their lives.
How do you go about talking to a friend, once you find out their story? #MeToo has started a conversation on how to help friends when they tell you their story for the first time. Here are some tips:
1. Believe the story – it is hard enough for them to let you know, so make sure you use language to show you believe what they are saying.
2. Make sure they know that they did not deserve to be hurt. Often times the victim thinks it is their right to be hit or have this terrible thing done to them. It will help calm them if you let them know they did not deserve this.
3. Let them make their own decision. You cannot force anyone to do anything they don’t want to. Yes, it is our instinct to help them out, but they have to decide for themselves that they want to leave.
4. Safety plan – if they do want to leave, come up with a safety plan. Just leaving the relationship doesn’t always work, sometimes they will go back. Making sure they have a plan and you know the plan will help them get out.
If you ever have someone tell you that they have been in an abuse relationship, you will be prepared now to help them feel better and start to make the transition out of that relationship.
Places in Harvey County that will help you:
Harvey County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Taskforce: 1-800-487-0510
Safe Hope Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: 316-283-0350
Agape Resource Center (food pantry & clothing closet): 316-283-1600
Salvation Army: 316-283-3190
New Jerusalem Missions: 316-282-2101
Harvey County Homeless Shelter: 316-283-7711
Health Ministries Clinic: 316-283-6103
Offender Victim Ministries: 316-283-2038
Harvey County Health Department: 316-283-1637
— Anne Pitts is a Kansas State Research and Extension Agent for Harvey County. Human development and 4-H are her specialties. The Harvey County Extension Office can be contacted at 284-6930.