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What can I do to help?

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If you suspect your friend or family member is being abused:

  1. Learn about the myths and realities of partner abuse so that you know what might make the situation worse.
  2. Listen with open arms! You don't need to solve the problem; just acknowledging the survivor's experience makes a difference.
  3. Keep listening. The survivor might be in denial, go back and forth between wanting to stay or leave the relationship, feel torn about getting help or have other conflicting feelings. Let the survivor know those feelings are valid and normal. 
  4. Share  your concern or fear for the survivor's safety and well-being.
  5. Remind the survivor that abusive behavior is a choice that the abuser makes and that it's the abuser's responsibility to change. Abuse is never ok and it is not the survivor's fault.
  6. Remind the survivor that they deserve unconditional love and affection. Control, machismo, jealousy, possessiveness and rage are not signs of love.
  7. Be supportive of the survivor's choices, even if they stay in the abusive relationship. Leaving may be very difficult or dangerous. Getting a restraining order might help or may provoke the abuser. Trust the survivor to know the best course of action; this also gives some power back to them.
  8. Help the survivor to think about a safety plan.
  9. Find out about available services and resources.
  10. Do not recommend couples counseling. It can increase the abuse. Encourage the survivor to contact a LGBT partner abuse specialist/program or get individual counseling.
  11. Encourage the survivor to document all threats and incidents. They might want to get a restraining order and report any violations of the order to the police.
  12. Keep yourself safe. Don’t threaten the abuser or physically put yourself in the middle of a situation. Call 911 if you see the survivor being assaulted or the abuser assaults you.
  13. The abuser may try to pressure you and other friends and family members to take sides, isolate the survivor, or divide the community. Remind the survivor of your support and educate others about the tactics of abuse.
  14. It can be hard to watch someone you care about being abused, especially if you are one of their few sources of support. You can help them by taking care of yourself and getting support for yourself.


How to recognize there might be a problem

Why won't my friend leave the abusive relationship?

Resources for victims/survivors

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