How to Talk to Friends Who Are Being Abused
If you have a friend who is in an abusive relationship:
- Learn to be a good listener.
- Reassure your friend that nobody deserves to be abused.
- Don't criticize or blame your friend. Remember how hard it can be to reach out for help.
- If your friend is the abuser, don't justify your friend's behavior. Remind your friend that it is never okay to abuse another person.
- Teach your friend about the signs of abuse, and tell your friend that abuse can be emotional, verbal, and sexual as well as physical.
- Confide in a professional if you feel the situation is getting worse, or if it is too much for you to handle alone.
Why is it hard for some women to leave?
There are lots of reasons that it can be difficult to get out of a violent relationship. A batterer doesn't usually start hitting his wife or girlfriend out of the blue--it usually starts after a history of verbal and emotional abuse: insulting her and chipping away at her sense of self-worth. Typically, by the time the physical violence begins, her self-esteem is seriously damaged.
Usually, violence isn't constant but comes in cycles, with a "honeymoon" period after the violent episode when the batterer says that he's sorry and that it will never happen again. The victim might really love her partner--she probably just wants the violence to end, not the whole relationship. She may also think that she can change him.
And there are other factors as well. The victim may fear for her life. She may have financial worries, and fear for the safety of her children. It takes a lot of courage to end any relationship. If there's violence involved, it can take a whole lot more.
*Information provided by the Connecticut Clearinghouse and the Coordinating Council for Children in Crisis.