The Skills You Need to Intervene on Abuse
This was originally published October 5th, 2021
If you are a person who wants to address abuse in your community, the most powerful skills you can cultivate are learning to appropriately identify divisions of power and responsibility, and learning how to provide support that balances compassion with confrontation.
It doesn’t matter if you’re supporting a survivor or someone who has abused, these are the core skills that are going to help address the patterns that created the dynamics that led to the abuse.
Survivors need strong support in grounding themselves in their truth and in their perception of reality. They need to know that the way they’ve been treated was not okay. They need to see the abuse clearly and accurately, and to know the abusive actions were a choice another person made that they are not responsible for.
They also need to see all the little ways they gave up their power as abuse slowly escalated. They need to be challenged to confront the anxieties, traumas, and self-doubt that led to them giving this power away.
People who have abused need a container of support that sees them as a whole person, as more than their actions, and illustrates the life experiences they have had that led them to enact abuse.
They also need someone willing to see and challenge the choices they’ve made, to let them know that the way they’ve hurt someone is not going unseen, and to point out the choices available to them.
Providing this kind of support to both survivors and people who have abused is transformative in that it has potential to radically alter balances of power.
When we are capable of seeing power unduly exerted- upon ourselves or upon others- we are capable of resisting and shifting towards healthier dynamics.