Helping a friend

An abusive relationship can have a significant impact on a person, and because of this, you might be seeing your friend change.  If you see that your friend is changing and these changes worry you, you should tell your friend that you are concerned about them.

It is sometimes hard to know what to say or do if one of your friends is in an abusive relationship. Your friend is most likely dealing with a variety of different emotions and might not know how to talk about the abuse.

You can also call Voices Against Violence to talk with an advocate about different ways that you can support your friend and yourself.

Is it abuse?

If the person your friend is with acts controlling, aggressive, or violent, or tries to get them to do things they don’t want to do, it’s abuse. Dating Violence can include physical abuse, but it doesn’t have to. Many relationships that are abusive include: Verbal, Emotional, Physical, and/ or Sexual Abuse.

Signs that your friend might be in an abusive relationship

>  When your friend is being put down or called names in front of other people by their boy/girlfriend.

>  Your friend’s boy/girlfriend acts extremely jealous when they are talking to a member of the opposite sex.

>  Your friend is continually apologizing and making excuses for their boy/girlfriend’s behaviors.

>  Your friend is canceling plans at the last moment for reasons that appear to be untrue.

>  Your friend is constantly being checked in on, called or paged by their boy/girlfriend demanding to know where they are and whom they are with.

>  Your friend is fearful that they might upset or make their boy/girlfriend angry.

>  Your friend is becoming more isolated and loses interest in the things that were once important to them, such as sports or hanging out with friends.

>  Signs of depression might appear, such as your friend’s appearance and grades change


>  Your friend might have injuries that they cannot explain, such as bruises or cuts.

If your friend is in an abusive relationship

  • Listen and Believe.
  • Show SUPPORT– ask how you can help.  Don’t blame your friend for the abuse– instead; remind your friend that s/he does not deserve to be abused.
  • Encourage your friend to seek help.
  •  Avoid confronting the abuser– it could be dangerous for you and your friend.
  •  Let your friend make her/his own decisions and accept that these decisions are right for her/him.
  •  Be patient– leaving an abusive relationship can takes time.
  •  Find someone you can talk to about your feelings about the situation.
  •  Recognize and praise your friend’s strengths.
  •  Call Voices Against Violence for more ideas.

Supportive things you can say to your friend

· “I’m glad that you confided in me.”

 · “You did not deserve this no matter what you did or didn’t do.”

 · “What can I do to help you?”

 · “What are some ways that you can make yourself safer?”

 · “I’m proud of you.”

 · “I believe you.”

 · “I support your decisions.”