FOR FRIENDS & FAMILY
Are you concerned a loved one is experiencing abuse? Some red flags include:
Their partner puts them down in front of other people
They are constantly worried about making their partner angry
They make excuses for their partner’s behavior
Their partner is extremely jealous or possessive
Their partner prevents them from making their own decisions
They have unexplained marks or injuries
They’ve stopped spending time with friends and family
They are depressed or anxious, or you notice changes in their personality
If you know someone in an abusive relationship, you may feel it is your responsibility to interfere and “save them,” but these situations are rarely easy to navigate. There are many reasons a person may stay in an abusive relationship, and leaving may not feel like a safe option.
Consider these ways to empower and support your loved one:
ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEY ARE IN A VERY DIFFICULT AND SCARY SITUATION, BE SUPPORTIVE AND LISTEN
Reassure them that they are not alone and that there is help and support out there. It may be difficult for them to talk about the abuse. Let them know that you are available to help whenever they may need it. What they need most is someone who will believe and listen. If you feel they will be receptive to outside help, refer them to BrightHouse.
Respect your friend or family member’s decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. They may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not criticize their decisions or try to guilt them. They will need your support even more during those times.
IF THEY END THE RELATIONSHIP, CONTINUE TO BE SUPPORTIVE OF THEM
Even though the relationship was abusive, your friend or family member may still feel sad and lonely once it is over. They will need time to mourn the loss of the relationship and will especially need your support at that time.
ENCOURAGE THEM TO PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF THE RELATIONSHIP WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Find a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. If the person is in Harper, Kingman, Reno, or Rice county, they can call the BrightHouse 24-hour Hotline at 620.663.2522. If the person is outside our service area, the National Domestic Violence Center has a 24/7 hotline you can call at 1.800.799.7233.
HELP THEM DEVELOP A SAFETY PLAN
Check out our information on creating a safety plan for wherever they are in their relationship — whether they're choosing to stay, preparing to leave, or have already left.
ENCOURAGE THEM TO TALK TO PEOPLE WHO CAN PROVIDE HELP AND GUIDANCE
Find a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. Contact us to get a referral to one of these programs near you. Offer to go with them. If they have to go to the police, court or lawyer’s office, offer to go along for moral support.
REMEMBER THAT YOU CANNOT “RESCUE” THEM
Although it is difficult to see someone you care about get hurt, ultimately they have to make the decisions about what they want to do. It’s important for you to support them no matter what they decide, and help them find a way to safety and peace.