How to Help a Friend
Friends and family are often the first people that someone reaches out to in the midst of crisis.
What you can do:
Often because of the abuse women feel guilty, are afraid or are telling themselves that "they should know better" etc. You repeating those things isn't going to be helpful. Often just being able to admit these things outloud is a very brave first step and what your friend needs is your support, not your list of things they have to do. Be willing to listen first before you jump in with advice.
Be prepared to repeat yourself.
When the time comes for advice, know your resources. Call the HOPE Center and talk to us about options, and know that on average it takes a woman 7 times before they leave for good. In the meantime many friends will become frustrated and drop out of her life... just what the abuser wants, to isolate and control. Be willing to stick it out, and don't forget we are here to support you too.
Relationships are complicated, and in cases where abuse is present, there are other complicating factors that you may not know about. Abusers will often threaten to take away the children, kill family members, cut financial support etc. Remember that you only know what she is willing to share, and often there is a lot she isn't talking about. You may or may not agree with your friend's decision to stay or go, but ultimately it is her life, and she is going to have to be the one to take the next steps, and you can't do it for her. If you are concerned about children and feel they may be in danger, Social Services will take anonymous phone calls.
Take care of yourself.
It is hard when someone you know is hurting. Make sure to take care of yourself during this time to be supportive.