Understanding Violence III: Guidelines for supporting friends

This is part 3 of the Understanding Violence guidelines series. Take a look at Part 1 and Part 2!

Abusive relationships (e.g. dating abuse, domestic abuse, elderly abuse)

  1. Help your friend make a safety plan. Safety plans are meant to be activated in case of an emergency and can be very different depending on the situation. There are many resources online on how to make a safety plan for different circumstances, but here are some basic elements to consider if your friend is living with their abuser:
    • Identify safe friends and places they could go to in an emergency
    • Help them pack a bag with essential items to take, should they need or decide to leave home. This bag should be kept at work or at a friend’s place.
    • Save emergency phone numbers in their phone (friend’s numbers, a Helpline number, etc) or on a piece of paper they keep in their purse, but in a way that will not arouse suspicion if their abuser goes through their phone/belongings.
    • Ask them what they are already doing to survive, and build on their existing strategies.
  2. If the abuser is a spouse, the victim can apply for a Personal Protection Order (PPO) from the courts. The PPO may also come with mandatory counselling for the perpetrator. A violation of the PPO is grounds for arrest. The victim can also seek legal separation on grounds of abuse.
  3. Other options for someone in an abusive relationship include:
    • Individual counselling for the victim and/or perpetrator
    • Arbitration by family or friends
  4. Resources:
    • Family Violence Specialist Centres:
      • PAVE (Promoting Alternatives to Violence) – 6555 0390
      • TRANS Safe Centre – 6449 9088
  • Project StART Care Corner Helpline (for Mandarin speakers) – 1800 222 0000
  • Samaritans of Singapore (Suicidal) -1800 221 4444
  • Family Service Centres (ComCare Helpline) – 1800 222 0000
  • TWC2 (for migrant workers) – 1800 888 1515
  • AWARE Helpline – 1800 774 5935

Sexual assault or harassment

  1. Look up for information and resources on sexual assault.
    • Services include helpline, email support, WhatsApp chat, befriender service, counselling and case management and a drop-in centre.
    • Understand the laws, policies and procedures to make a police report.
    • Sexual Assault Care Centre hotline – 6779 0282
  2. Look up for information specific to workplace sexual harassment.

Understanding Violence Part II: Guidelines for supporting friends

This is part 2 of the Understanding Violence guidelines series. Take a look at Part 1 here

Woman-crying_920x380_scaled_cropp1.  Support them through their choices.

If they want to make a police report or go to the hospital, offering to go with them for support can make a big difference.

  • If they are open to seeing a counsellor, you can offer to call and make an appointment for them.
  • If they agree to make a safety plan, you can make it with them.
  • You can follow up with them on steps they wanted to take, checking in gently to see how they’re doing and if they have made any progress on that/require further support. 

2.  Offer resources. Often, people may not realise what options are available to them. Look up resources for support in such a situation, and share them with your friend. It could be a helpline number, free legal services, counselling services, etc. Educate yourself on the available options and discuss them with your friend. If you are able to, and comfortable with it, you can also offer personal resources. For example, they may need some money or a place to stay temporarily while they figure out their next steps. 

3.  Be sensitive to their position. When a victim of violence is queer, disabled, poor, an ethnic or religious minority, an immigrant, is lacking family support or is facing other societal and structural barriers, they may have even less access to conventional modes of support. Be sensitive to their particular situation, and don’t assume anything about their experience. 

4.  Encourage them to document their experience(s) of violation or abuse, with as many accurate details as possible. Even if they are not intending to make a police report at present, evidence collection and accounts of their experience can help build a case if they change their mind in the future or if the violence escalates and they want to seek legal recourse. 

support-survivors-sign5.  Self care is essential. When our loved ones experience trauma, it often affects us too. While supporting them, we must be responsible in caring for ourselves too and remember to do little things for ourselves that keep our spirits up, and seek help if we need to. 

6.  Encourage them to seek professional help. There are limits to the extent that friends and family can support someone experiencing trauma. Trained professionals can provide support in a multitude of ways, ranging from hotlines and counselling services to legal advice and casework. Encourage them to get the help they need if and when they are ready to. 

7.  Intervening during an incident of violence can be difficult, and even dangerous, but not impossible. Your safety is top priority. Every situation is different, but some ways people have effectively intervened when they witness sexual harassment or abusive behaviour are:

  1. Calling the police
  2. Asking the victim if they are OK or need help
  3. Getting the attention of others around so you have support and can speak in a collective voice
  4. If the perpetrator is known to you, and you feel you have the power to intervene safely (e.g. your friend is getting aggressive or touchy with someone in a club), you can leave with them, take them away from that area/the victim, or persuade them to stop.
  5. Distraction can be useful. In a case of molest on public transport, or catcalling, you can pretend to know the victim and strike up a conversation with them, offer your seat to the victim, or place yourself between them and the perpetrator.

Think about different scenarios you have been in and strategies that might be helpful. Talk to others about their experiences and strategies.

Supportive responses Unsupportive responses
•       It’s not your fault

•       I believe you

•       We’re here for you

•       What do you want to do?

•       What can I do to help?

•       Should we look up options together?

•       We can talk about it whenever you want to

•       This matters. You matter.

•       You don’t deserve to go through this.

•       I’m so sorry that happened.

•       (The perpetrator) is responsible for what happened, not you.

•       Who else do you trust to talk about this to?

•       Do you want me or someone else to talk to (the perpetrator)?

•       Do you want some space?

•       I’m going to support you no matter what.

•       You have nothing to be ashamed of.

•       You didn’t let it happen, (the perpetrator) chose to do it.

•       It’s your own doing

•       You can’t call that abuse/rape

•       You have to leave him!

•       Don’t take it so seriously

•       Are you sure?

•       What were you wearing?

•       Why did you…? / Why didn’t you…?

•       You have to take care of yourself better.

•       Don’t talk to that person anymore.

•       You chose to date a guy like that

•       Think about your kids/others

•       I told you so

•       Don’t exaggerate/Don’t lie

•       Just ignore it

•       Forget about it, it’s no big deal

•       How could you let this happen?

•       Let it go/It’s time to get over it

•       Think about (the perpetrator’s) life

•       Toughen up/Stop crying

•       You can’t let people treat you like that

•       If you weren’t so weak, this wouldn’t happen


Understanding Violence Part I: Guidelines for supporting friends

  1. power_and_controlRecognise and affirm subtler forms of violence. Less visible forms of violence, like emotional neglect, repeated insults or put downs, control, silencing or dominating one’s partner and verbal/visual sexual harassment often go unnoticed, but can cause victims a lot of distress and trauma, especially when it has been going on for a while. Be careful not to trivialise or minimise their experience.
  2. Use their words. If you think what happened to your friend is sexual assault, or relationship abuse, but they aren’t using those terms to describe them, don’t impose this language on them, as it may be overwhelming and they might shut down. Depending on your relationship with them and the circumstances, you can gently introduce the idea, if you think they are open to it. E.g. “What you’re describing sounds like abuse to me.” But initially, use the words they use, and ask questions that may help them unpack their experience. For example, if they say “we keep fighting”, but describe instances where they are fearful and intimidated by their partner, you can ask, “do you think (their partner) feels scared of you during these fights?”
  3. More often than not, perpetrators are known, and even close to victims. Recognise that they may have emotional attachment, financial dependency and/or otherwise complex relationships with their perpetrators. Be sensitive to that. Even though we may see them as violent and abusive, the victim may have more sympathetic feelings for the perpetrator. Referring to a woman’s husband as her “rapist”, for example, can be very difficult for her. Many victims of relationship abuse also go through cycles of violence, where their may partner promise to change after each episode of violence, or blame the victim for the violence – these patterns can have a deep impact on how they see their situation.
  4. Everyone deals with trauma differently, and your friend may have a coping mechanism that is confusing or surprising to you. For example, someone who has experienced sexual assault or an abusive relationship may talk about it very casually, or even laugh while referring to it. This does not mean that they are being untruthful or that they are not traumatised, and the expectation that they must show trauma in certain ways can hinder meaningful communication between you.Exercise: Think of some ways that you respond to or cope with difficult or unpleasant situations. Do you think some of your coping mechanisms may be hard for others to understand?
  5. PeerCounseling-400People are the best experts of their own lives. Don’t take things into your own hands or try any ways to “help” without the victim’s clear and voluntary consent. For example, you may think it is a good idea to confront the perpetrator, but the victim might feel that doing so will put them (and you) in further danger. Or you may believe that if someone is in an abusive relationship, they should leave their partner. But they may not be ready to do so, and leaving might lead to a new set of difficulties and struggles that they are not prepared to face. Always respect the victim’s choice – they know best. Exercise: Think about and list all the possible reasons why someone may not be able or willing to leave an abusive relationship. Putting ourselves in the shoes of others helps build empathy and allows us to respond in more sensitive ways.
  6. Don’t expect to be able to save the day or solve their problem. Also, don’t expect that the victim will be ready to take action right away or in the near future. Sometimes, the victim may not feel ready to take any steps that you’ve suggested. And sometimes, they may not want to discuss options, but just share their feelings. You may get frustrated that nothing is changing and because you don’t feel like you’re helping. You may also feel disappointed if they say they will take a certain step, but don’t follow through. Remember that listening is helping. And because the victim isn’t ready to take any steps now, it doesn’t mean they will never be ready. Leave the door open for future conversations. Helpful things to say:“I understand this is very hard for you. If you change your mind, or feel ready to do any of the things we’ve discussed, I’m right here.”
    “We can talk about it again, whenever you need to.”
    What else can you say in such a situation?

Watch this space for Part II of Understanding Violence!


Should I intervene?

by Sumithri Venketasubramanian, Change Maker

The recent viral video of the abuse of an elderly woman has brought to light something that many of us have probably experienced before: what do I do as a bystander in light of abuse?

When the victims of abuse are those close to us – our friends, family members and neighbours – we might feel compelled to intervene, but might also not know how to. After all, there are so many questions that could affect how we react: ‘It could just be a “family matter”, should I get involved?’ ‘What if by stepping in, I put the victim’s safety at further risk?’ ‘How do I ensure that I won’t get hurt in the process?’

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 4.20.13 pmAnd of course, it’s always important to assess the situation before taking action. Jumping in, or making decisions on behalf of the victim(s), without weighing the pros and cons of our options may end up putting ourselves or others in danger.

Abuse can have many forms, including physical, psychological, sexual, financial and verbal. Some signs are unexplained wounds, isolation, repeated absence from work or school, restlessness, anxiety and an inability to complete tasks. Due to the traumatic nature of abuse, it’s important to remain supportive and patient. Just being there for the victim and assuring them that they’re not at fault can be immensely helpful. Letting them know that you can be trusted and will support them with whatever they choose to do may encourage them to cope with their emotions better.

Ask them what they would like to do, and respect their decision. In many cases, the perpetrator is known to the victim, and it may not be easy to leave their homes in cases of domestic, child or elder abuse, for example. While it may seem ‘right’ to intervene and remove the affected from the abusive environment, doing so without their full consent may cause distrust within your relationship, which may not really aid the situation.

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 4.19.52 pmMoreover, financial dependence and emotional attachment may also affect the decision to leave, move out or call the police. To a third-party, an abusive situation may seem evident, but to those involved, the lines may be blurred. Using words like “abuse” may be shocking to the victim, because they may not have viewed it as such. Instead, provide resources that may help, such as helplines, counselling services, nearby police offices, family service centres or help centres. (Some useful helplines can be found here.) Should they choose to report the case or seek help services, offering to go with them can help them feel safer in such an environment.

Should you suspect violence within a neighbour’s/friend’s/relative’s home, calling the police is an option that you can consider. The safety of those involved is of utmost importance. However, note the potential risks associated with doing so and decide accordingly. Generally, even after a report has been made, the perpetrator may not be removed from their home until sufficient evidence proving that they’ve caused harm has been produced. Should it come to the attention of the abuser that the abuse has been reported, the situation might escalate and the victim may be put in further danger. Evaluate the situation carefully. For the most part, though, calling the police is the right thing to do, and not doing anything at all could be worse than ‘interfering’.

Saying stuff like “I told you so” or “why didn’t you leave years ago” doesn’t help anybody; it may even cause them to feel guilty about their experience. Dealing with abuse is very difficult, and the best that we can do is to provide support and encouragement to our friends, family members or neighbours as they recover from what they’ve been though.

About the Author: Sumithri is a passive-aggressive activist who enjoys writing lengthy blog posts on some of the many issues faced in the world. She’s still trying to figure out which of the many social injustices to dedicate her life fighting against, but whatever it is, will contribute the best she can.



A game, a story, a change

Written by Min, Change Maker

coverThe beginning of 2010 marked the end of my life as I knew it. A 360 degree change in my personality was seen, blocks were put up in my memories and the brown lines on my wrists never seemed to fade.

For half a decade, I avoided the topic. I refused to work on it with my counsellor. I refused to acknowledge that it even happened. That is, until, by some fate or coincidence, my school decided to allocate me to AWARE for my internship. I knew, then, that I cannot run away from my problems forever.

I decided to make a game as part of my final-year project. A game about intimate partner violence, a game that tells the stories of its victims through words, pictures and music. I know that AWARE and We Can! have plenty of workshops and programmes. But I, as an introvert, know what a struggle it is to sign up for a workshop or programme, knowing that I will be in a room full of strangers. It may be too big of a first step for some. So, I thought, “Why not bring it to the comforts of one’s home?”

Celestial chainedThe game I made is titled The Healing Doll and it adopts an RPG and visual novel style. In the first part of the game, you play as Celestial. You have amnesia, and as you explore your surroundings, you uncover your lost memories and the horrors of your previous abusive relationship. You end up severely traumatised. This is to highlight the emotional turmoil experienced by a lot of victims. In the second part of the game, you play as Alex, Celestial’s friend. Seeing Celestial in such a state, you blame yourself for it. Until a mysterious Cat Man promises you the power to travel back in time and change the past. From then on, the choices you make will impact the plot and final outcome of the game. This is to show that when we choose to stand up and step in, we can make changes.

As my game drew close to a completion, insecurities and uncertainty overwhelmed me. I am no art student, nor am I a programming student – but I am psychology student with a Wacom Tablet and passion for programming. The game is by no means of perfect quality as everything is created within a month, but I can assure you that my emotions and feelings are in it. The journey of creating the game is not an easy one. At the beginning, flashbacks blinded my eyes. The memories I stored in a box exploded. But I kept going. I kept going, till a point where I felt okay. After that, my only struggles are the expectations I had of myself and my constant belief that my game is not good enough.

alex and cel in schoolOf course, I did not make it through alone. There are friends and people who love me who stuck by me through this journey. Just like the characters in my game, we all need some external help sometimes.

What do I hope to achieve with this game? Initially, I was ambitious. I wanted to change people’s mindset, I wanted to change people’s beliefs and attitudes. But then I realise that it is not realistic. I cannot change people’s mindset, but I can act as a stepping stone towards the change I want to see. With a little more understanding and a little more knowledge, it will be possible.

To victims of intimate partner violence out there, you are not alone. To friends of victims, there are many ways you can help. To everyone else, you are part of a society that can change.

About the Author: Min is the whackiest psychology student you’ll ever meet. If you see her, run far away.


How I Coped With Dating Violence

A recount of struggles with dating violence and getting through it by Nicole Laurens, Change Maker

You can watch Nicole read her speech here!

Let me start by asking you this – how many dating violence cases have you heard of? A few? There are many more – some just choose to tell only those they ‘trust’. Which sometimes aren’t exactly the people who will help them get out of the current situation. Some are afraid of the consequences of coming out with their story. I was one of them, but I have turned that fear into something positive to encourage people to realize their self-worth as well as know their rights to live as a human being, not under anyone else. I don’t share my story for any other reason, than to make this group of people realize that they are not alone in their battles.

G44A0914Let me move on to describing what I see as abuse and show you why people take it really lightly. When you think of abuse, you think of… blood? Bruises? Scars? Well dating abuse comes in many forms, mainly physical, emotional and psychological. Violence, in the physical abuse sense, doesn’t just occur on its own. Whatever physical abuse you see or hear about has a much bigger abuse story behind it.

How do these people get into such relationships? Most of the time it starts with low self-esteem, having the habit of giving in and overlooking major flaws instead of rectifying the flaws. Why do they stay? The same reasons, and most commonly, fear. How mine started was with low self esteem. A school jock actually asked me out on a date and I was like, whoa, who me? Nobody was interested in knowing me, not that I was bothered but it was a big thing for me when he asked me out. He used this to his advantage, constantly reminding me later into the relationship that because of him, I was brought up to a higher social status and everyone knew me. Before he came around, I was a nobody. He reminded me of this several times and me, I felt like I owed it to him.

So it starts with these unhealthy thoughts, not respecting yourself and knowing your self worth enough. In other words, not loving yourself. When you start of with these things, you tend to overlook many occasions that disrespect yourself as a human being. I received my first slap a few months into the relationship because I wanted to leave him. Apart from not being allowed to call him by name, to walk away from a heated argument was considering rude instead of mature and not using up all my energy to apologise for something was considered little effort on my part.

So slowly it turned into fights in public areas, during my A level examination period, during work etc. Pulling of hair, pushing, getting screamed at, getting bruises from his really strong grip became norms. I’m not saying I’m an angel, yes, in self defence I learnt that being violent back got us ‘even’. Whenever I cried about getting hit, he’d say, ‘you hit me back the other day’. How did I ever think that was okay? So I got used to it, and I was so afraid to do so many things. Asking for a breakup was a ticket to getting into an emotionally exhausting argument that could last for days and sleepless nights. If he asked for a breakup and I didn’t disagree, I would be accused of being a liar, and getting called many degrading names also became a norm. Fat, ugly, dirty, smelly – if I didn’t date you, you think anyone else would? If you don’t lose weight, don’t be with me. I cried almost everyday until I woke up every single morning planning my day just so I don’t get him angry. If I did something wrong, I had to beg him for forgiveness. This snowballed into something so psychologically abusive that I turned into a completely different person and lost almost all my friends. I graduated with a handful of friends, mostly my classmates. The rest gave up on me, and they asked, ‘Why is she so stupid to stay with him?’ That’s how it snowballed, from a simple mistake on my part – not respecting myself enough. He kept saying, ‘You are the only one who will ever tolerate my attitude and the way I treat you. So when the day comes that I become better, you will be the only one who deserves me at my best.’ Constant forgiveness leads to you waiting for…. Practically nothing.

My colleague lodged a report for me, but my family dropped the charges, why? I wanted a better future for myself and I wanted him to change himself for his future and not ruin it. I wasn’t going to stoop to his level, trying to destroy someone else’s future. I’m better than that.

However, the question asked is such a common question – Why does she stay with someone like that? Or in other cases even, Why is he still with her when she abuses him? I feel that that shouldn’t be the first question on anyone’s mind when they hear about an abuse case. Shouldn’t they be asking instead – Why is he or she abusive? Why does he or she think they have the right to do that? Why does he or she event think that the victim is deserving of all of this? The same concept as when it comes to rape – instead of saying, Don’t get raped, people should be saying, Don’t rape. The antagonist in the situation shouldn’t be made to think that he or she has the right to continue doing what they want as they like.

For me, I knew that I had stop being afraid of all the threats and blackmails he dared to impose on me. I took the risk finally, left, and suffered consequences you cannot imagine. Threats given were carried out, my worst fears. He always said, ‘if you hurt me once, I’ll give you back ten fold’ and guess what, he meant it. I was distraught and my parents were disappointed because he got them involved. I couldn’t leave my house without being afraid that he might pop up somewhere unexpected and give chase. Which happened, of course. I spent my days running, not being able to live my life in peace. I hurt my parents so badly, the people who truly loved me, because of someone who had no clue what love was. Losing friends was hard but losing my parents, even for a week, was unimaginable.

Let me be honest, I was at my lowest – at my weakest. I took pills, a lot of them. I tried pills with alcohol. I took cough syrup. Which I realized, after talking to some people, was something a lot of people were actually taking to forget their problems. Yes I had complications with my body but none enough to end everything. So what I did was write a list of things I would miss, and the list of people who might miss me. Since I had nobody, I tried to get up myself and start talking to friends I lost. I’m glad to say, I got some of them back. It wasn’t easy, definitely. But I did it. I got these friends to support me. It wasn’t easy getting friends who genuinely wanted to help. Some people are just there to judge you, trust me. I’ve met too many of them. All they want to do is get into your life, know your story, then talk about it to their friends. Biggest mistake.

G44A0653I will not let my experience sink into me and affect what I have ahead of me but I will definitely put it into good, positive use. Since my downfall and my struggle to get back up, I have joined AWARE as a Change Maker, mainly because I want to raise awareness of dating violence and abuse as a whole. I plan to attend more workshops and hopefully eventually come up with my own because it irks me that people are in such situations, thinking they have insufficient support or that they’re too weak to step out of it.

To sum up, I lived a little over three years of my life believing that this was the only way to be strong – to hold on and not give up. To accept that there was no other way to save my life. Since I broke free from this prison, I had a few girls come to me telling me their issues. And these girls – they have no idea how to step out of it. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of girls and guys going through this. We think it’s love but love is not about possession or getting your way. Efforts do not mean you have to chase your partner for hours just to show it, or leave them 60 missed calls to prove you’re apologetic.

And you need to realize this.

Abuse, is not about blood, bruises and cuts only. Dating abuse is about how your life is affected by a relationship. Mine was extremely unhealthy but there are a lot of unhealthy relationships out there, no matter how mild you think it is. Step out of it. I allowed myself to let mine snowball into the unthinkable. It was very hard for me to recover. I had nightmares every single week due to my anxiety. When I tried moving on, I had the biggest fears that chased people I just met away.

Find people to speak to. Professionals, or people with experience who will provide that strength for you. You are NOT alone. Find help because some of us are more vulnerable than others. Fear is temporary. The loss of self-respect is extremely detrimental – I learnt that the hard way. There will be people who understand you, but of course you need to know who exactly. No matter what, life goes on. Love yourself before anyone else because when all else fails, only you are gonna there for you.

If you know of anybody going through any form of abusive relationship, please know that whatever you see happening, is only a tenth of what the victim goes through.

Of late, I have been providing support for a few girls who have come to talk to me since I reached out with my story.  Inspired by the event where I was being abused in school and not a single person came to stop it, I am also currently working on a dating abuse awareness campaign to hold in my university, hopefully early 2015.

Thank you.


Do you recognise abuse when you see it?

[two_third] This Is Abuse is a UK campaign that raises awareness among youth about the issues of relationship abuse. It looks at the forms abuse can take including non-violent forms which are often not recognised as abusive.

The campaign includes lots of videos depicting situations of abuse in order to bring focus to these behaviours.

The aim of the campaign is to prevent teenagers and young adults from becoming victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse.

The website points out that: ‘Abuse is not normal and never OK. -“If you are in a relationship with someone, you should feel loved, safe, respected and free to be yourself.

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[two_third] Spot the Signs
The site is full of great resource to encourage open and honest conversation about the nature of abuse and healthy relationships.


In a healthy relationship both partners treat each other with respect. Answer the following questions honestly to work out if your partner treats you with the respect you deserve.

Your partner:

  • Is willing to compromise
  • Lets you feel comfortable being yourself
  • Is able to admit to being wrong
  • Is not jealous or possessive
  • Does not try to control what you wear, where you go or what you do
  • Does not physically hurt you
  • Does not emotionally hurt you (by calling you names, threatening you, making you feel bad)
  • Tries to resolve arguments and conflict by talking honestly
  • Enables you to feel safe being with them
  • Respects your feelings, your opinions and your friends
  • Accepts you saying no to things you don’t want to do (like sex)
  • Accepts you changing your mind
  • Respects your wishes if you want to end the relationship



10 ways men can prevent gender-based violence

This is part of an article that originally appeared in Feminist Wire on May 15, 2013 – by Sacchi Patel



  1. Communicate. One of our largest problems is that we do not talk. No one is a mind-reader. If we talk with our partners, we can understand each other’s wishes, thoughts, and desires. Consent should never be assumed.
  2. Educate Yourself. There is lot of information on Domestic Violence that we ought to learn and understand. “1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime,” “1.3 million women are physically assaulted each year in the US,” and “every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted” are all undeniable statistics, and need acknowledgement and continuing press coverage.
  3. Contribute. We ought to give our time, thoughts, and even monetary donations to helping stop all forms of violence against women. Assistance is always needed, and there are many ways for us to get involved and support the cause.
  4. Support Victims/Survivors. We can be there for those who have been victimized by domestic violence or sexual assault. This might mean driving someone to the hospital, accompanying a victim to court or the police station, or even just sitting and listening to the survivor.
  5. Organize. As men, we can create or join a movement against DV.
  6. Act. Rather than watch abuse happen, we can take a more proactive role and become empowered bystanders. This means standing up, speaking out, intervening in potentially harmful situations, or alerting others for assistance. There is always something we can do.
  7. Choose Words Thoughtfully. We must understand the impact of our language and the words that we use. Using words like bitch, ho, and slut to describe women makes it easy for our whole society to view women as inferior.
  8. Talk with/listen to Women. Women have spoken out for decades, trying to spread awareness. It is time to have those conversations with women and learn their thoughts about living with threats of violence on a daily basis. We can also find out ways that we can support women best.
  9. Talk with Men. We can engage in dialogue with other men about how domestic violence has impacted their lives. We can explore feelings and the costs of being regarded as potential perpetrators of violence, while learning how to best support male-identifying survivors. Talking with other men will also allow a space to discuss ideas on how to challenge and stand up against domestic violence.
  10. Lead by Example. Never disregard, excuse, commit, or remain silent about any violence, and particularly that against women and girls. We can be role models for other men and boys in our communities. We can teach our children to be respectful and never abusive toward women. We can be good fathers and equal partners in our relationships.

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