These are the questions that run through my head when people tell me that battered women lie:
- What do you really need to know?
- Why do you need to know it?
- Why do you think you need ‘the whole truth’ in order to help her get what she needs?
- How does your judgment of her affect what you do?
Omission does not equal deception. And, lying does not mean that she doesn’t deserve our help. When we focus on her honesty or lack thereof, we’re saying that battered women are not credible and therefore are not worth our time, our compassion, our action.
Listen to what she is asking of you. Figure out what you can do and offer help. You don’t have to fix anything or anybody. Don’t underestimate the power of trying to connect with her and understand what she wants.
Believe that she’s telling you everything you need to know. Believe that you can’t choose for someone else. Believe that you can act.
It is hardest thing in the world to trust someone else – just ask a battered woman.