How To Help A Friend
HOW TO HELP A FRIEND
It is not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they have been physically or sexually abused, especially when that person is a family member, friend or loved one. Your instinct may be to “save them”, but it is just not that simple.
Understanding how power and control work within an abusive relationship , then learning how to shift power back to those affected by the abuse is the most important way you can support survivors in your life.
• LISTEN: Find a time and place that is safe and confidential. You can try starting the conversation with “I am worried about you and your safety”. Allow the person to speak and let them know you believe them.
• OFFER SUPPORT: Assure them what they are feeling is okay. Ask how you can best support them. Reassure them that they are not alone and that they do not deserve to be hurt.
• PROVIDE RESOURCES: Research local and national domestic and sexual assault agencies and shelters. Have a list ready with organization names, phones numbers and websites just in case they want them and encourage them to reach out and get in contact. (see the resource page on our website for national help and hotline resources)
• HELP SAFETY PLAN: Make a safety plan with your friend/family member. We recommend contacting one of our advocates to help with this plan, but if that is not an option then please view the Safety Planning page on our website.
• RESPECT THEIR CHOICES: It is never as simple as just leaving. Statistics show the most dangerous time for the abused person is when they decide to leave an abusive partner or situation. Offer them your support and resources, do not pressure them into leaving, ultimately it is their decision. Do not be judgmental or make them feel bad for staying, there are many outside influences that cause a person to stay; finances, children, pets, etc. Reassure them you will be there no matter their choice.
REMEMBER, YOU ARE THERE TO SUPPORT YOUR LOVED ONE, NOT TO RESCURE OR SAVE THEM.
Please call our 24/7 Hotline if you have any questions or if we can be of assistance. All our services are free and confidential. 830-693-3656