Getting Help For A Friend
If a friend is in an abusive relationship, it can be hard to know what to do or say. Here are some tips.
- Never blame them for the abuse - abuse is never the victim’s fault
- Tell them, “It’s not your fault," and "You don’t deserve to be hurt”
- Let them talk, don’t interrupt, and believe them
- Call out the abusive behavior, but don't put down their dating partner. Your friend will likely get defensive and may not feel like you're a safe person to talk to in the future
- Your friend may not be ready to leave their relationship, support their choices
- Show your friend that you are a safe person to talk to and you'll support them with their decisions
- Help them safety plan, and make sure they're safe
- Suggest help and resources for your friend, such as the TAP808, the crisis text line 741-741, or other community resources.
Don't forget that if your friend experiencing dating abuse, they may see things differently than you. Maybe they've been told the abuse is their fault and feel responsible. Even after realizing that there’s abuse, they may choose to stay in the relationship.
If they do chose to leave, they may feel sad or lonely, even though the relationship was abusive, and they may go back. All you can do is keep the door open, so that if and when they are finally ready to leave, they'll know you're a safe space for them to turn to.
Warning signs that a friend may be in
an abusive relationship:
- Attached to phone when not around partner; afraid to miss text/call
- Sensitive to touch
- Heavy makeup/long clothing to cover up
- Makes excuses for dating partner
- Slacking in responsibility (school, job, etc.)
- Lower self esteem/depressed
- Drastically changing their appearance/behavior
- Stops hanging out with friends/family
- Blames themselves for abuse
- Social media presence changes
- Says they can't talk to/hang out with certain people because of their partner