Dating and Relationship Violence
Supporting a Friend in an Unhealthy Relationship
Student Services Building - 5th Floor
If there is immediate danger, call 911.
If you are concerned about the power and control dynamic in a friend's relationship:
Give the person ample opportunity to talk. Encourage and ask gentle questions, but don't push for details the person does not readily provide. Also, don't rush into providing solutions.
Listen without judging or focusing on your own reactions - the conversation should focus on the person in the relationship.
Let your friend know that you offer your support and caring, that the responsibility for the violence lies elsewhere, and that only the abuser can stop the violence.
Explain that physical violence in a relationship is never acceptable, no matter what the circumstances are. There's no excuse for it - not alcohol or drugs, financial pressures, depression, jealousy, nor any kind of stress.
If your friend has children and is concerned for them, reinforce that concern and let your friend know that relationship violence is damaging to children. If your friend wants you to, support the children, letting them know you're there for them, as well.
Let the person know that, in spite of the partner's promises, the violence is likely to continue and, probably, escalate.
Emphasize that, if it becomes necessary, it is possible to make a choice to leave the relationship and help is available.
Provide your friend information about local resources. Tell them about this website.
If the person chooses to remain in the relationship, continue to be a friend, while at the same time firmly communicating that no one deserves to be in a violent situation.
If you see or hear an assault in progress, call the police. Do not try to physically intervene, both for your own safety, and for your friend's. Upsetting the abuser may put your friend in even more danger.
If you or someone you know would like more information on safety planning or other services available to students dealing with dating/relationship violence, please call the Counseling and Mental Health Center at 471-3515. When you call, ask for an appointment with a counselor who works with the CMHC Voices Against Violence (VAV) Program.