How to Help a Friend who is being Abused

 

Help your friend recognize the abuse
Let them know that their boyfriend/girlfriend’s behavior is not okay, and that they deserve to be treated better than that.  Remind them that you are concerned for their safety and well being, and that the abuse could get worse over time.

 

Be non-judgmental
If your friend does not end the relationship, do not tell them that they are wrong, or worse yet, stupid for staying.  Do not say, “What did you do to make him/her so mad?” or “I can’t believe you let him/her do that to you” or tell them that you would handle the situation much better than they are handling it.  DO NOT bash their boyfriend/girlfriend, even if they break up, as this might backfire later or make him/her defensive.  Instead, reiterate that it is the abuser’s behavior that is not okay, and express concern for your friend.

 

Be supportive
Be there to listen, and support his/her strengths.  Maintain your friendship, even if your friend has “ditched you” for their boyfriend/girlfriend….remember, isolation is a tactic that abusers often use.

 

Help your friend get help
Talk to your friend about having a safety plan.  Encourage them to talk to their parents, teacher, counselor, Rabbi, youth director, or even the police.  Help them plan what they will say.  Offer to go with them and help them do this.  Remind them that even though it might be scary, and even though they might feel that everything is under control, it’s important for their safety and well-being to ask for help.  For advice on how to do this, call Staci at AJFCS, 561-684-1991.

 

Don’t do this alone!
If you are concerned for your friend’s safety, contact an adult or professional.  Staying with an abuser, AND leaving an abuser, can be very dangerous.  Your friend might initially be mad at you for telling….but might end up getting very hurt if he/she does not get proper help.