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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Intimate Partner Violence

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How do I help a friend or loved one who is in an abusive relationship?

  • Approach them in an understanding, open, listening, non-blaming way. Let them know they are not alone in the situation, that you believe them, and that it takes strength to trust someone enough to talk about the abuse.
  • Acknowledge that it is scary and difficult to talk about IPV and convey that they do not deserve to be physically, sexually or emotionally abused. Nothing makes the abuser's violence okay. Reassure them that they did the best they could in the situation and made the right decisions at the time.
  • Be a supportive friend. Listen and encourage them to express any feelings, including hurt and anger. Allow them to make their own decisions, even if that means not leaving the abusive relationship at that time. Allow them to label and identify their own experience.
  • Help plan a safe strategy for leaving the abusive relationship. However, do not encourage anyone to follow a plan they feel may put them at further risk. Consider using a safety plan.
  • Avoid shaming them; you care about your friend and want to lead them in the right direction, not turn them away.
  • Provide them with information about on-campus and off-campus resources.

If you know the abuser and feel safe talking to her or him, tell that person directly, "I don't want to see you hurting people." Reference specific instances of violence and tell them it bothers you.

Remember that NO ONE deserves to be abused. For any reason. At any time.