It is difficult to see someone you care about hurt others. You may not even want to admit that your friend, sister or brother is abusive. But remember, when you remain silent or make excuses, you're encouraging their violence. Ultimately, the abuser is the only person who can decide to change, but there are things you can do to encourage them to be better. It's not easy for abusive people to admit that their violent behavior is a choice and accept responsibility for it. They may benefit from having control over their partner and may turn to you to help justify the abuse. Do not support the abuse in any way. Remember, you're not turning against your friend or family member -- you're just helping them have a healthy relationship.
- Learn the warning signs of abuse so you can help your friend or family member recognize their unhealthy or abusive behaviors.
- Your friend may try to blame the victim for the abuse. Don’t support these feelings or help justify the abuse.
- Help your abusive friend focus on the victim’s feelings and the serious harm they're experiencing. Don’t support your friend’s efforts to minimize the severity of their behavior.
- Don’t ignore abuse you see or hear about. Your silence helps the abusive person deny that their behavior is wrong.
- Convince your friend that getting professional help is important. Encourage him or her to find a program that can help and have a list of resources ready. Chat with a peer advocate for help.
- Stay in touch with your friend or family member about the abuse. Be there to support the abuser over the long-term.
- Remind them that change will create a better, healthier relationship for both partners.
- Set an example by having healthy relationships in your own life.
- For more on Dating Violence, visit www.loveisrespect.org