How to Help a Friend Dealing with Abuse
"If my friend was experiencing abuse from their partner, I would intervene and end it."
This is a phrase we have all inevitably stated in our minds.
You know yourself, and you know that you won't stand for someone doing that to your friend.
But do you know what you would say?
Having the idea in your head that you would intervene is a critical first step, but what do you do next?
This is where people often get lost, and have a difficult time putting their plan into action.
The purpose of this post is to help you get an understanding of what to do next, so you feel comfortable if this situation should ever arise.
Start a conversation:
You will want to do it somewhere private, where nothing will interrupt your conversation
and make sure that you do it in person.
Why in person?
So you know it’s them and not their partner with their phone or laptop.
This will also let them know that you’re concerned for their safety.
In an age of digital media, we can lose sight of how important face to face conversation is, and the impact it can have.
This can be one of the most difficult aspects of talking to a friend.
You want to convey your concern for them, but also be aware to not attack their partner.
Doing this may only push them further into isolation, where they feel that they have nobody supporting them.
Don't place blame or shame on them.
This is again going to be very difficult for them to talk about, and your support may be what gives them the courage to talk.
When you try and talk to your friend they may not want to talk, and that’s fine.
There are many barriers in place for why someone wouldn’t come forward.
things such as...
-Fear of hurting their partners feelings
-Fear of getting into trouble with partner
-Not knowing where/how to get help
-Fear of judgement
If they do want to talk to you and after your conversation they want to try and leave the relationship, help them.
Try and make a plan for how they would leave. (what they say, where to do, how to get there, etc...)
If they decide to stay be supportive.
Again, this is going to be incredibly difficult for you to do.
However, telling them that they’re making a bad decision will only push them back to the abuser.
Continue to encourage them to do things outside of their relationship, this will help in preventing isolation.
Those are some of the ways we can try and help someone we feel is in need.
Making that first step is incredibly hard, but watching your friends or family experience something like abuse is even more difficult.
Understanding where to start and what to do has set you up to be a helpful bystander.
If you have any other questions, please check out our other blogs, or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your concern.