What is Domestic Violence and Dating Violence?
Talking to someone who you think is experiencing from domestic violence or dating violence or sexual assault is not easy.
Below are some suggestions for helping someone in an abusive relationship:
- Determine a time and place where it is safe to talk.
- Listen. Do not judge them or react negatively or harshly.
- Say things such as “I’m sorry that happened to you” or “I believe you” or “It’s not your fault.” Survivors who hear these words are more likely to seek additional support.
- Understand that victims often love their partners but want the abuse to stop.
- Affirm their feelings.
- Be supportive without giving advice. Say things like: “What can I do to be helpful?” or “What do you need to be safer?”
- Tell your friend they are not to blame for the violence. The abuser is responsible.
- Connect your friend with community resources, such as Waypoint's Domestic Violence Victim Services Program.
- Be there unconditionally.
- Be patient and continue to affirm their feelings.
- Be a source of support and continually remind them of their strengths.
- Remember, leaving an abusive relationship is a process, not an event.
- Understand that risk for serious assault and rape increases when women leave or attempt to leave.
- Seek support for yourself from resources such as Waypoint's Domestic Violence Victim Services Program.