James Baron
JRNM 151

If you feel trapped in an abusive relationship as endured by Gabby Petito, whose body was found on Sept. 19, you should know that there is always a way out. 
“The most important piece of the puzzle is you need safety planning,” Virginia Beckham, executive director of Genesis House, “Making a big announcement of leaving is never a good decision.” Beckham continued, “Plan to exit carefully, leave when the other person isn’t present. Do it safely. You don’t need to let them know you’ve left.” She said that informing the abuser of your exit could lead to severe danger on the horizon.
When asked whom to reach out to when a person might feel like a victim, Beckham said, “The answer is different for everyone, but this may include a parent, neighbor, or counselor. Tell someone who is trusted. Someone who also doesn’t have an allegiance to the abuser. You don’t want them telling the abuser. It could cause greater danger.” 
Beckham emphasized the importance of not telling someone close to the abuser, saying, “Most people don’t understand domestic violence. They endanger them (the victim) by accident. They don’t want to, they just kinda say “Oh they came to me and said something isn’t right with their relationship. Maybe I should try and help by talking to the other person (the abuser). In their mind, it might be helpful but all it does further endanger the victim.”
However, there are numerous ways you can help a victim as a concerned friend or loved one. Consider if you’ve noticed any of the red flags that may appear while you see the couple in question. Beckham said, “There’s a bunch of red flags; isolation (having fewer friends), jealousy (being often accused of cheating), and verbal abuse (name-calling, insults).”
There are also certain habits that may indicate someone is capable of harming a victim. Beckham said, “There are some actions that indicate that an abusive person is capable of killing. One that indicates both is cruelty to animals. If they harm the animals and show cruelty to animals It shows they’re capable of hurting the victim or even killing them”
When asked about the safety of cutting someone out of your life for good, Beckham referenced the author, Gavin Debezker. He wrote, “Make swift decisions about who you remove and very slow and careful decision who you allow into your life.” Beckham said, “Most often homicides take place when a victim tries to or just did leave a relationship.” 

If you worry someone you care about is in an abusive relationship, there are steps you can take to help. Consider the following do’s and don’ts when approaching a friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, or other loved one. 


• Approach the other person at a time and place that is safe and confidential. • Start by expressing concern (i.e., “I am concerned someone may be hurting you, and I am worried about your safety.” 

• Connect them to domestic violence resources. In Dane County, you can give them the number to the DAIS 24-hour Help Line: 608-251-4445 (800-747- 4045). If your area does not have its own Help Line, you can direct your loved one to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

Do not: 

• Do not pressure your friend to leave the abusive relationship. There are many reasons they may be choosing to stay. It is possible their abuser has threatened to hurt them or their children if they try to leave. The abuser may control all of their finances and may have isolated the victim from friends and family, leaving the victim with very few resources of their own. The abuser may have promised to change, and the victim may still love him/her. It is never as simple as encouraging a victim to “just leave”—but by all means, communicate to your loved one that help does exist, and that people in their community care about them and their children and want them to be safe. 

Source as well as more info via: https://abuseintervention.org/sandbox77/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/How-to-Help-a-Loved-One.pdf