Do you know someone who is in an abusive relationship? Are you feeling unsure about or overwhelmed by how to support that person?
Call our 24-Hour Crisis & Information Line at 303-318-9989. You can provide emotional support by talking with one of our Advocates about the dynamics of domestic violence and acquiring the tools to handle the stress, worry, frustration and even anger that can accompany this situation.
With more than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experiencing rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime, chances are good that you will know a survivor of domestic violence at some point in your life – whether that person is a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor. Many people want to help, but they don't know how to approach someone who they suspect may be in an abusive relationship.
Communicating With Someone Experiencing Domestic Violence
- Respect the survivor’s feelings and thoughts, even if you disagree or can’t empathize.
- Ask questions instead of giving answers.
- Assure the survivor of your confidentiality.
- Listen and support without passing judgment.
- Move at their pace.
- Inform the survivor about resources.
- Suggest safety planning.
What To Say
- I am afraid/concerned for you.
- Does it bother you/scare you when she/he does that?
- I think that would bother/scare me.
- Are you ever afraid of him/her?
- You shouldn’t have to be afraid.
- It seems like she/he is controlling or overly jealous.
- Have you thought about leaving?
- Have you thought about a safety plan?
- You deserve to be treated well.
- Act skeptical or impose your own judgments, values and beliefs.
- Tell her/him what she/he should do or make decisions for her/him.
- Make promises you can’t keep.
- Blame or criticize.
- Hurry the decision process.
- Intervene beyond your capabilities.
What Not To Say
- Why don’t you just leave?
- Why do you let him/her treat you like that?
- She/he is a loser; she/he is no good.
- You should just dump him/her.
- You don’t really know what love is yet.
- It’s not real love.
- She/he doesn’t love you or she/he wouldn’t treat you like that.
- “You should….” or “If I were you...”