Helping a friend with a violent relationship can be very emotional and difficult. When someone is in need of help they may come to you and confide in you, and tell you what is happening with the relationship. There may be a student in a group that will offer this information during the Betsy's Friend session. This may be the first time she has come forward with this information or she may have told many others before. You may hear arguments between two people that live near you, or you may see them arguing face-to-face, and out in the open. You might also hear or see slapping, hitting, or someone being thrown against the wall. As difficult as all these things are, this identify's someone in need.
It gets more difficult when the tell-tale signs are not in the open. Someone may be hiding the abuse from family and friends and appear that everything is just fine. Some signs may be that she may stop doing things or calling her friends, she may have bruises. She might stop seeing her family members.
Helping a Friend
Depending on the violence determine if she needs medical attention right away, or does she just want to talk Be a good listener, repeat back what she says to you to make sure both of you are clear on what is being said Get help from the RA, or RD on duty, Health Center, Counseling Center, Health Education, peer educators, or Public Safety, or the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centers' Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery and Emergency Unit. Stay with her until you are sure she is alright. It is always important to follow-up with her, if she gives you permission to do so. Make sure you ask if it is okay to give her a call or a visit later to follow up. Most importantly make sure your conversations with her are confidential, do not tell your friends what was said, yet as a friend let her know that there may be something that she says that you cannot keep confidential, and that you may need to tell someone that can give her the help she needs. Your Role as a Friend
Understand what your limits are, and what your role is. If you feel comfortable with this information and are able to talk with someone about this, trust your instincts. If not, that is alright as well, don't try to counsel someone if you are unsure how to do that. Do not rationalize the situation by saying - "oh, you'll be okay, it wasn't that bad."