Written By: Kimberly Davis
So, you suspect your bestie is in an abusive relationship? You may be wondering what the best tactic is in approaching her for the first time. Don’t focus the conversation around him, this conversation is about her and how she feels. The most important thing to remember about abuse survivors, is that they are often still in love with their partners regardless of their actions; dismissing this love will not help you in the long run.
Don’t say: How can you stay with him? He’s awful.
Say: All relationships have their issues, but I’ve noticed he doesn’t always treat you well and I was wondering how that makes you feel? I’m concerned.
If she defends his actions or insists he isn’t abusive,
Don’t say: He’s manipulating you!
Say: I’d rather discuss how his actions make you feel.
If your bestie finally feels safe enough to leave him but returns, don’t feel discouraged. It can take seven to nine tries for an abuse survivor to leave their partner for good. Her boyfriend controls her enough, she doesn’t need you doing it too. Always offer to be there for her if she needs it.
However, if you feel she is in immediate danger - he’s threatened to kill her or has physically harmed her - call the police. Even if she objects. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If she tells you that she’s ready to leave for good, don’t brush it off with a “good for you”. Tell her to keep a journal of all abuse incidents, and keep one yourself for any that you witness. Also instruct her to keep any text or emails her abuser has sent her to document for evidence in the future. Physical injuries? Instruct her to see a doctor immediately. Medical proof of abuse is the best kind of proof. Offer to keep money, a prepaid cell phone, clothes, a safe place for her to stay, or anything else she may need to get out. Help her achieve maximum safety.
Not sure if your friends in an abusive relationship? Wondering if you may be in one yourself? The National Domestic Violence Hotline can provide more information on domestic violence, and what we can do to help. Afraid your browsing history is being watched? Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
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