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Talking to a friend dealing with relationship violence can make an enormous difference to her. She is probably feeling very isolated and alone. When talking to a friend you think might be abused, there are several key things to keep in mind:


  • Listen to what she has to say, and don't be judgmental.

  • Let her know you are there for her whenever she needs to talk, and that you are worried about her.

  • Let her know that you won't tell anyone she doesn't want you to about her situation—and then keep your word (unless you fear for her physical safety).

  • Be specific about why you are concerned - "I felt bad when I saw him insult you in front of all of us. He doesn't have the right to treat you that way. What did you think about it?"

  • Let your friend know you won't stand by and let the behavior continue.

  • Find someone knowledgeable about abuse that she can talk to, and volunteer to go with her.


When talking to a friend who is being abusive, here are some tips to keep in mind:


  • Be specific about what you saw and how it made you feel.

  • Make sure he realizes that his actions have consequences, and he could get into serious trouble—from getting expelled from school to going to jail.

  • Urge him to get help, from a counselor, coach, or any trusted adult, and offer to go with him if he wants support.

  • Let him know that you care about him, and that you know he has it in him to change.

  • Let her know you are there for her whenever she needs to talk, and that you are worried about her.

  • Most guys who hurt their girlfriends don't consider themselves "batterers"—many are in denial about the severity of their actions. It's hard for us, as their friends, to believe it, too. But reaching out and talking to a friend we think is being violent in his relationship is truly an act of friendship, though it may seem like the hardest thing you can do.


You can also consider talking with an adult:


  • Write down what you need from the adult, what you want them to be like. Make sure they have your best interests at heart. It might be a parent, a teacher, a school counselor, a coach, or a friend's parent. Chart out all the adults you know and figure out who is your best ally.

  • If you think your friend is in physical danger, but she doesn't want to seek any help, go ahead and tell an adult you trust yourself.

  • If you are concerned that a friend is being abusive, it can also be helpful to talk to an adult, either with your friend or by yourself if he doesn't admit the problem or refuses to go with you. Go to an adult you trust, one who you think will get your friend the help he needs and stick by you and support you for talking to them.

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