During the 1970’s, a young woman from Texas moved to Pennsylvania to attend college. While living there, she fell in love. The man was several years older than her & did not share her & her family’s conservative beliefs. He convinced her to move in with him, much to the dismay of her family who disapproved of living together before marriage. Eventually, the boyfriend killed her, stuffed her body in a steamer trunk & put her in a closet in their apartment! Since the family lived so far from this young woman, they had no idea what happened to her. The boyfriend was no help obviously, saying she left him, he didn’t know anything. Eventually, the truth of his deeds was discovered.
Aside from the obvious horror of this story, something struck me especially interesting. The victim’s sister said that they had no idea until after her death that the boyfriend abused the victim. She never told her family anything about his abusive ways, & living so far apart, they never saw her covered in bruises & injured. The sister said if someone had just said something, this young woman might still be alive.
That is such a valid point! Speaking up can make all the difference in the world! Having survived an abusive upbringing & an abusive first marriage, I can tell you, when someone said, “How that person treats you is wrong”, it helped me tremendously. Finally, I saw that I didn’t deserve what was being done to me.
I’m not saying every single person has to write about abuse like me or even try to change the laws. I am saying though that if there are signs someone you know is being abused, speak up! Physical injuries are obvious signs of course, but there are other signs. If you’ve been a victim of narcissistic abuse, you know those signs all too well. Low or non-existent self esteem, constantly doubting one’s self, afraid to do anything the narcissist may disapprove of, doing nothing without the approval of the narcissist, depression, anxiety, being hyper-vigilant are some examples. If you see these signs in someone you know, talk to them when you can get them alone. Ask if how their parent or partner treats them, if they are abusive. Many victims will say no, yet be unable to explain why they act like they are being abused or excuse their abuser’s behavior. They may say he is tired from working long hours, or she has been stressed lately so she’s been drinking a lot which explains her behavior, or some other lame excuse. Many even blame themselves for making the abuser treat them so badly. It’s so important to let a victim know that there is no excuse to abuse, & the abuser is in the wrong. Tell them that they don’t deserve to be treated this way, too. If you’ve been in a similar situation, tell your story. Sometimes seeing things from a slightly different perspective can be very enlightening.
Whether the victim is trapped in an abusive marriage or the abuser is a parent, offer to help them escape. Offer to let them stay with you anytime they need to get away. If the victim is a child, check into what it takes to become an emancipated minor in your area & help them if they want to do that. Offer to hide money & belongings for the victim until they are able to leave permanently. Most importantly, pray for the victim. Leaving an abusive relationship is so hard! That person is going to need all of the prayers, support, love & help they can get!
If you see someone in need, maybe God put that person in your path so you can be the one to help them. I know many people don’t want to get involved in these situations but if you don’t, it could cost someone their life, like the young lady I mentioned earlier in this post.