Our friends mean the world to us, and it is never easy to watch them go through an abusive relationship. Considering how damaging dating abuse is, finding the words to discuss it can seem like a daunting task. Here are five ways to start talking to your friends about dating abuse:
Provide statistics about dating abuse: Those experiencing dating abuse can feel like they are all alone, like no one understands what they are going through. Throwing out a statistic about how often dating abuse occurs or how damaging it can be will not only help you to start talking about dating abuse but can also make your friend less scared to open up. You can find statistics at http://ow.ly/3xyuQ
Mention MTV’s A Thin Line: MTV’s A Thin Line campaign focuses on cyber bullying and technology stalking like constant text messaging. If your friend is a fan of MTV, you can ask what they think about the topics discussed on the website: http://www.athinline.org
Make a New Year’s Resolution: One of your resolutions can be to make sure that your romantic relationships are healthy. When you mention this to your friend, you can talk about what a healthy relationship looks like and ask your friend what they think about healthy relationships. Signs of a healthy relationship can be found at http://www.loveisrespect.org/resource-center/teen-dating-bill-of-rights
Discuss current news about dating abuse: Like Chris Brown and Rhianna, there are many stories in the news about celebrity couples experiencing dating abuse. There are also reports on new findings and insights about dating abuse. Searching the internet for current news on dating abuse can give you things to discuss to start talking with your friend about dating abuse.
Take Action: Talking to your friend about what you are doing to help stop dating abuse is a great way to open things up. Ideas of how you can get involved can be found at http://www.loveisrespect.org/resource-center/awareness-toolkit
You can always use more than one of these to help steer the conversation in the right way. And if you don’t feel like you are up to talking to your friend, that’s OK. The most important thing you can do is be supportive. Hanging out and showing that you care will mean the world to him or her. If your friend or you have any questions or want to talk more about what’s going on, the peer advocates at loveisrespect would love to talk. The fact that you are reading this and are concerned about your friend means you care a lot, so thanks for being awesome!