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Avoid judging or blaming them. Listen closely. Reflect back what they are saying. Express your concern. Avoid demonizing their partner or family member; instead focus on the love, care, and kindness that they deserve.
Let them know you are there. Even if they go back to their abuser. It’s okay to let them know that you are worried and concerned, but do not get aggressive or angry because this will put them on the defense and prevent them from coming to you in the future. Keep the lines of communication open.
Find out what resources are available for your friend & for you. Provide this information to your friend & check things out for yourself, too. Offer to seek out help together.
Help them brainstorm options to get and stay safe. Make sure they are the one coming up with the options and deciding which one is best for them.
Read books and zines about domestic violence so that you can have a better understanding and be a resource for others.
It is so easy to get wrapped up in other people’s lives because you care. Make sure to take care of yourself. Drink tea, take naps, and if you need to, find someone to support you! You are not in this alone and there are people waiting to support you and your loved ones!
Help them come up with a safety plan. Tell your loved one that when they are ready to leave you would like to help. It is very important to have a plan to ensure their safety. If they are not ready to make a plan, give them the information of local resources, like RISE or Helpmate.
Let them know that they are welcome to come and be with you without pressuring them to do so. If you remain open to them coming to you without pressuring them, it will feel safer for them.
People in abusive relationships often do not get the chance to make decisions for themselves and giving them the opportunity to make choices can be the most empowering thing for them.
"I feel as though I haven't seen you in a while. How are you doing?
Remember, you don't have to say something profound. Just be open. Give them choices and give them the opportunity to tell you. Express your concern and show them that you care. Also, you can contact RISE - we can help you develop a plan to talk to your friend.
Helpmate provides safe, confidential shelter to women and children who are leaving dangerous and potentially lethal living situations.
Crisis Line: 828.254.0516