Do you have a friend who is being abused? If so:
- Learn about the dynamics of partner abuse and available resources so that you don’t inadvertently increase his/her risk for abuse and violence.
- Don’t insist that s/he leave her/his abusive partner. Leaving an abusive relationship without a realistic safety plan is dangerous and can be life-threatening.
- Do not recommend couples counseling. It is potentially dangerous.
- Reinforce that abusive behavior is never acceptable; that using abusive behavior is a choice that the abuser makes; and that it is the abuser’s responsibility to change.
- Validate his/her feelings as well as their complexity.
- Acknowledge the reality of the losses that she or he faces. Remind him or her that excessive jealousy, possessiveness, controlling and dominating behaviors, and rage are not indicators of love.
- Challenge her or his denial about the seriousness of abuse as well as any misconceptions that she or he has about domestic violence.
- Remember that your role is to be a friend rather than an expert or counselor.
- Encourage him/her to seek help and support from an LGBT domestic violence specialist or program.
- Take care of yourself. Don’t do anything that puts you at risk. Don’t interfere physically or threaten the abuser.
If you witness your friend being assaulted, call 911 for help. If the abuser threatens you, secure a protective order and report any violations of the order to the appropriate authorities. Seek support and assistance from an LGBT domestic violence specialist.