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What To Say To A Friend Experiencing Domestic Abuse

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Where did you get those marks? Is he hitting you? What's going on with this relationship?

If you think someone you love is experiencing an abusive relationship, you might be struggling to ask certain questions. While it can be very painful to stand by and watch the one you love experience abuse, it's ultimately up to them to end the cycle. However, there are certain things you can say to motivate them to get help and exit the relationship.

“The first thing I would ask is if she wants out,” said Hazel Anderson, a woman who has spoken with friends about domestic abuse in the past. “I would let her know that she is loved and I am here for her and I know it is scary.”

By asking certain questions, you can inspire your loved one to improve her relationship or to make a major change that will lead to a better life. The first thing you must do is approach the conversation with a sense of compassion and respect. Don't judge your friend or loved one for remaining committed to this relationship. There are often extenuating factors that lurk beneath the surface of an abusive relationship that force them to stay when they would rather leave.

Try these conversation starters if you're struggling:

  • “I want you to know that this is not your fault.”
  • “You are not responsible for his behavior.”
  • “I see what's going on and I just want to help.”
  • “Please know that I am always here, even if you just want to talk.”
  • “I'm worried about your safety.”

Do your best to avoid confrontations and realize that your friend or loved one might be going through an incredibly difficult time.

“You have to realize you can do so much to help a person,” said Anderson. “But until they are ready to get out of that relationship there is no helping. It's so sad.”

If your friend or loved one is open to making a change, suggest additional resources where she can get help. There are many shelters, support groups and resources for those who have experienced abuse. By starting a conversation with her, you might be able to save her life.

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