If You Are a Victim of Dating Abuse, You Might…
- Think it's your fault.
- Feel angry, sad, lonely or confused.
- Feel helpless to stop the abuse.
- Feel threatened or humiliated.
- Feel anxious or depressed.
- Feel like you can't talk to family or friends.
- Be afraid of getting hurt more seriously.
- Feel protective of your partner.
Your abuser is counting on you to be too scared or ashamed to tell anyone but abusive behavior never resolves on it's own and tends to get worse over time.
If you are in an abusive relationship, please seek help IMMEDIATELY!
Talk to someone you trust like a parent, teacher, school principal, counselor, social worker or nurse. You should know that some adults are mandated reporters. This means they are legally required to report abuse to authorities such as the police or child protective services. You can ask people if they are mandated reporters and then decide what you want to do.
If you want help deciding whom to talk to, call a crisis or abuse hotline. You might also consider a trusted family member, a friend’s parent, or older sibling or cousin. Just make sure you get the support and help you need — nobody wants you to be abused and your friends and family want you safe and protected.
Help a Friend
If you know someone who might be in an abusive relationship, you can help...
- Tell your friend that you are worried for her.
- Be a good listener.
- Offer your friendship and support without judgment
- Ask how you can help.
- Encourage your friend to seek help.
- Educate yourself about dating violence and healthy relationships.
- Avoid confronting the abuser. This could be dangerous for both of you.
It's important to not make immediate demands of your friend or threaten to get others involved. Abusive relationships are psychologically complex and your friend may actually see YOU as the problem and shut you out if you don't approach this situation carefully.
Their insistence in staying in the relationship and defending of their abusive partner will not make sense to you and it may even make you angry but making your friend first feel supported and understood is key. Until they feel that, they may not be able to trust or confide in you.
If you feel that your friend is in immediate danger or that their life is at risk or has been threatened, you need to consider calling 911. If your friend is in danger, it’s important to get help from law enforcement. You should also consider talking to a counselor or trusted adult if there is no clear or immediate danger present.