Helping a Victim
Less than half of all dating abuse is reported, and of the victims that do tell someone, 88% tell a friend.1
What are some signs or changes I might see?
- New eating or sleeping habits
- Being angry all the time
- Doing poorly in school
- Engaging in risky behavior
- Mood swings
- Talking about suicide
What can I do?
- If your friend is in immediate danger or needs medical attention, call 911.
- Don't let go--don't let the abuser isolate her from her friends.
- Just be there.
- Express your concern and voice your worries, but don’t judge and don't blame.
- Refer to specific incidents you witnessed that made you worried instead of making generalizations.
- Encourage your friend to speak to a trustworthy adult, or call a free and confidential hotline.
- DO NOT CONFRONT THE ABUSER--this can put both you and your friend in danger.
What are some good things to say to my friend?
- "You didn't do anything to deserve this--this is not your fault."
- "I'm really glad you came and told me."
- "I'm proud of you, it must have been hard to tell someone about this."
- "I believe you."
- "I'm here for you and I'll support any decisions you make."
- "Let's go talk to someone--I'll even come with you."
What should I not say to my friend?
- "What did you do that s/he did that?"
- "I'm sure it's not really that bad."
- "He/she would never do that."
- "Try not to think about it."
- "This might ruin his/her/your reputation--are you sure you want to tell anyone about this?"
1Sellers, C. and Bromley, M. (1996). Violent behavior in college student dating relationships:Implications for campus providers. Journal of Contemporary Justice 12(1), 1-27.
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