Talk to those you love about love!
The best and easiest way to prevent domestic violence is to talk about it — not just domestic violence, but about relationships.
Ask a question:
- “How’s your relationship going?”
- “Are you worried about any of your friend’s relationships?”
- “What do you think healthy arguments look like?”
- “What is working well in your relationship?”
- “What do you wish were different in your relationship?”
- When gossiping about celebrity relationships ask: Who do you think has a great relationship? An unhealthy one?
- Be genuinely curious and open-minded about their response.
- Listen without judging.
- Everyone needs one person they can talk to.
- Keep checking in.
- Make chatting about relationships a normal part of life.
- Nothing has to be wrong for it to be the right time to talk. When talking about relationships happens regularly, it’s a lot easier for friends to turn to you when things aren’t going well.
- Grab a celebrity magazine and go for coffee with a friend. It’s always fun to dish about celebrities and it can make it easier to take the leap and talk about your own relationship.
What do I do if they share something concerning?!
One of the things we know about domestic violence is that people turn to their informal support systems – their friends, family, neighbors, pastor, etc. before they ever turn to law enforcement, the courts, or even an advocate. That means every one of us is a first responder to domestic violence.
If your friend reveals something, or you have seen or heard about things going on in their relationship that concern you, it can be overwhelming but these phrases can help:
- “I care about you, and I’m concerned for you.”
- “I’ve seen (or heard about) some things that make me uncomfortable (or scared).”
- “I know some people you can talk to about what’s going on… (and encourage them to call or meet with an advocate).”
- If you don’t know the answer? Say: “Honestly, I don’t know. Let me so some research and then we can talk some more tomorrow.”
- Not sure about your own relationship? You don’t need to have it all figured out to support someone else. Think about someone you can talk to about how things are going in your relationship.
- Conversation getting awkward or not going anywhere? Back off and try again on a different day. Just asking the question lets people know you are someone they can turn to when they are ready.
How to help a friend who might be abusing his/her partner?
We got most of these ideas from Washington State Coalition Against Domestic violence. Download their “How’s Your Relationship?” cards, or check out their website, blog and facebook for more great information about domestic violence and how you can talk about it.