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.
© Liz Claiborne Inc.'s Love Is Not Abuse campaign, www.loveisnotabuse.com
Published on March 12, 2009