How to Help a Friend or Family Member
Talking to someone who you think is suffering from domestic abuse or sexual assault is not easy. Below are some suggestions for helping someone in an abusive relationship:
- Determine a time and place where it is safe to talk.
- Listen. Do not judge them or react.
- Say things such as “I’m sorry that happened to you” or “I believe you” or “It’s not your fault”. Survivors that hear these words are more likely to seek additional support.
- Be prepared - they may deny it, be angry with you or tell you to mind your own business.
- Affirm their feelings.
- Be supportive without giving advice. The "You should" approach isn't helpful.
- Challenge the abusive behavior and patterns in the relationship.
- Tell your friend they are not to blame for the violence. The abuser is responsible.
- Connect your friend with community resources.
- Be there.
- Be patient and continue to affirm their feelings.
- Be a source of support and continually remind them of their strengths.