Words are powerful. Choosing your words carefully and using accountable language when discussing intimate partner abuse is something everyone can do.
Fight injustice by speaking up and speaking out.
Intent is everything. We have so many teachable moments in our everyday lives that we don’t seize. Whether you are at work or with friends and family, if you hear something disrespectful or degrading – speak out! Don’t do nothing.
Open a dialogue – let someone see how language affects perspective and how the wrong language can be dangerous. Remind friends, family, coworkers, or anyone else you come across that positive language can change things for the better.
If you hear someone using abusive or controlling language, say “I don’t appreciate that,” and explain why it is unacceptable.
We’ve probably all heard friends and family say things like this before —
“It takes two to tango.”
“They’re having a lovers’ quarrel.”
“What did she do to provoke it?”
These sentiments blame the survivor and you can speak out when you hear someone using this victim-blaming language. Chances are they don’t know they’re doing it. You can say something like “Did you know the words we choose sometimes blame victims?” Then explain how.
Talking about the power and control associated with intimate partner abuse is always a good place to start. Your discussion might address how physical, emotional, and financial violence make it very difficult for someone to leave.
Educate yourself on the power and control wheel of abuse. And always fight injustice by speaking up for survivors.