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Every year, 1.3 million women become survivors of domestic violence.This horrifying violence is intimate, yet its prevalence, as well as our society's reluctance to hold abusers accountable, means that these assaults permeate our entire culture.This makes it even more confusing and heartbreaking; how can you reconcile that the love of your life is also trying to hurt you?So before you place blame on your friend and wonder aloud, "How could you have let this happen? It's a terrifying truth that this could happen to you.Michelle Kiminsky, a Brooklyn lawyer and chief of the District Attorney's Domestic Violence Bureau, told Cosmopolitan, "[An abusive partner] is probably not abusive at every moment of the day.There's a tendency in domestic violence to look at the victims as an 'other.' We've all been in relationships that are good, and we've all been in relationships that are bad, and you might have a friend who says, 'He's a jerk,' but he's not a jerk to you all the time.One of the first things that you can do to better help a loved one in an abusive relationship is become aware of the many different forms of abuse; not all of them come with obvious bruises.
Be supportive, no matter what your friend decides to do." In fact, research shows that, on average, a woman will leave an abuser seven times before she breaks off the relationship for good.
If you have difficulty recognizing the abuse as an outside party, imagine the exhausting introspection and reflection required of your friend — the person actually in the relationship. Don't minimize it just because you've never suffered abuse.
You must be empathetic and imagine a lived experience different from your own.
It's easier to judge why other people stay in a relationship than to understand that human relationships are complex, and for the people in abusive ones, the abuse is not necessarily what defines the relationship." Just because abuse is clear to you as an outside party doesn't mean that it's clear to the person actually in the relationship.
Often, abusive behavior doesn't reveal itself immediately — allowing a partner to fall in love before things suddenly take a turn for the worst.
Whatever you do, just don't say anything like this: Hopefully you've never been in abusive relationship, so you might not be familiar with the manipulation, fear, and danger experienced by those who have survived it and those who are currently living it.