Friday, March 6, 2020

Aiding Victims in a Troubling World

While this life can be wonderful and truly rewarding, there are sometimes issues that can cause us great pain and uncertainty. In the past years, women coming out with their survivor stories banding behind the #MeToo movement gave us an insightful look into the difficulties of an industry run on toxic management styles and a lack of respect for those being managed, and that’s to speak of it lightly.

Yet, this is hardly the only issue facing society, despite how important it is. Recent light shed upon sexual abuse against boy scouts shows that anyone can become a victim, and as those who hope to turn the needle a little further back in the light will know, remaining an ally to victims is essential.

So how can we better conduct our role as a supporting influence without dictating to the victim how things should be done, or how they should feel? It’s important to note that while we wish to help, especially in the case of children, this story isn’t about us, but about helping them slowly recover and find their strength once more.

Here are some practical tidbits of advice to help you along that route:

Speak With Care
Speaking with care to those who may have been victimized is important, but we must remember not to coax out their stories for our own benefit, or to believe that we’re the ones who will ‘set them right’. Of course, this is different when hoping to aid a child, but for the most part, we must speak with complete honesty, safety and trust, allowing the victim to feel safe with us before or if they choose to divulge. This way, you can become supportive on their time frame, not yours.

Be There As Appropriate
It is nice to be there for someone who may be in need of assistance, but again, we must never invite ourselves in or force our way to become part of ‘the solution.’ For instance, a friend may ask you to drive her to a Planned Parenthood clinic in order to get healthcare and possibly make a tough decision. It’s unlikely they’ll wish to discuss this at length, and that’s okay. Simply being there for them and supporting them through this time is enough. Learn to sit in silence beside people who are hurting. Also, never require validation from them, or thanks. This is the spirit of true friendship.

Remain Supportive
It’s important to remain supportive in small ways. Allowing someone to know they can call on you anytime, or that they can come to you when the going gets tough is important. Additionally, helping someone learn their worth is also an amazing way of giving support. It may even set the precedent for your friend to start to leave an abusive relationship, or for them to come to you with a hidden issue they have been troubled by for so long. The more you can be non-negotiable in your support, provided you take care of your own mental health, the more you can help the victim and lend them your strength.

With this advice, you’re certain to become an excellent friend, and always aid victims in a troubling world.

This article was written for the Life According to Steph audience

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