1-800-240-9894 shelter@fvps.ca

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What should you do if you think someone might be abusing you? If you feel that you love someone but often feel afraid, it’s time to get out of the relationship — fast. You’re worth being treated with respect and you can get help.

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How Can You Help Yourself

First, make sure you’re safe. A trusted adult or friend can help. If the person has physically attacked you, don’t wait to get medical attention or to call the police. Assault is illegal, and so is rape — even if it’s done by someone you are dating.

Avoid the tendency to isolate yourself

Avoid the tendency to isolate yourself from your friends and family. You might feel like you have nowhere to turn, or you might be embarrassed about what’s been going on, but this is when you need support most. Ending abuse and violence in teen relationships is a community effort with plenty of people ready to help. People like school counselors, teachers, youth workers, coaches, doctors, and friends will want to help you, so let them.

Don’t rely on yourself alone to get out of the situation.

Friends and family who love and care about you can help you break away. It’s important to know that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It actually shows that you have a lot of courage and are willing to stand up for yourself. It’s also likely you will need help to break out of a cycle of abuse, especially if you still love the person who has hurt you, or feel guilty about leaving. These feelings are perfectly normal.

Helping a Friend

The abuser is counting on you NOT to say anything at all. By ignoring his/her behaviour, you become part of the reason they are allowed to continue abusing their dating partner.

Finding yourself in an abusive relationship can be extremely traumatic. Often, people feel very alone and isolated from help, understanding and support. It is important to understand what kinds of things you can do and say to help a friend or family member who is dealing with this type of problem. Here’s how you can help.

You can tell them

It’s not your fault.
I’m sorry this happened to you.
You don’t deserve to be abused or assaulted.
You have rights and options.
There is support available for you.

Listen ...

Give your friend your undivided attention as they are talking with you.

Do Not Judge ...

Be careful not to make judgments about the situation they are in or the decisions that they make or appear to have made.

Support Her/His Right to Make Their Own Decisions …

Sometimes we think we know what is best. Remember, they have the right to make their own decisions. Telling her/him what to do will not be helpful.

Repeat That Violence, Abuse, or Assault are NOT Their Fault…

It is common for people to feel they have done something wrong. Continue to remind the that the violence, abuse, or assault was the other person’s choice and that’s where the blame belongs.

Educate Yourself …

Work to understand the dynamics of dating violence, and the available options.

Provide Resource Information …

Offer the telephone number of the local domestic violence or sexual assault program. Offer to talk with them to an adult that they trust.

Protect Their Privacy *in most cases …

She/he has chosen to tell you. It is not your place to tell others, with the exception of informing a teacher or another adult who will offer help and support. Make sure to do this if your friend is in danger.
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Believe ...

Believe what they tell you – it has taken a great deal of strength and courage for her/him to tell you.
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Understand What He/She is Saying …

Devote your efforts to understanding the thoughts, feelings, and experiences they have chosen to share with you – not only to find out things you want to know.

Be Supportive ...

Support her/his feelings as well as their choice to share them with you and acknowledge that it may have been difficult to do so.

As we have already talked about, both females and males can be survivors of dating violence and stalking and sexual assault. EVERYONE – male or female – deserves support, options, resources and safety. You can help and you can make a difference.