So it’s the holidays! Tis the season to load up on gifts and food. We look forward to mingling with our family and friends in the spirit of celebration. Whether we live close, or travel from afar, we spend time in the presence of those we often don’t see or hear from on a daily basis.
This is the perfect time to consider those individuals in our circle of influence who may be in abusive situations. During the holidays, many abusers will loosen the reins on their victims enough for a window of opportunity to arise. They will either escort their partners/spouses to family gatherings, or allow them to attend alone, but not before they strengthen their control over them. All it takes is a glance, a touch, or a phone call or text message to re-establish the intimidation. Be the family member who gently asks concerning questions about safety. State your intentions in wanting to help, without judgement, if help is needed.
Often times we notice and comment that “Cousin Terri doesn’t seem like herself” or “that girl got my brother wrapped around her finger… he’s not the same person I grew up with”, without realizing there is so much more to the story. Taking the time to have a private conversation, in the name of playing ‘catch-up’ can open the door for someone to ask for, or imply help is needed.
If YOU are the victim, recognize those individuals who are sincerely concerned about you, and want to assist you in escaping your situation. Take an assessment of your relationships, and target that trusted friend or relative. There is usually one, who will follow through in assisting you without judgement, or causing a scene. It would not be wise to get the over protective uncle, or loud mouthed sister, who will create a hostile environment and make your home life (pre-transition) a nightmare. All victims are strategic with life. You know what will set off your partner, and how to re-establish harmony. Your life usually depends on it. So use that analytical thinking, to decide on how to get the help you need.
The window of opportunity during this time of year, is small. If actions are not taken, most victims will find themselves entering a new calendar year in the same situation, or worse. In this technologically dependent age we live in, you would be hard pressed to find someone without access to the internet on a hand-held device. Have someone search for the contact information for resources in your area, and make the call. Professional help is available 24/7 INCLUDING holidays and weekends! No one has to stay in the shape they are in… Help or be HELPED!