Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Learn ways to help a friend experiencing domestic abuse

  • Published
  • By Beverley Knight-Stukenborg, Family Advocacy Intervention Specialist
  • Family Advocacy Program, 88th Medical Group

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- There are steps that anyone can take if they suspect a friend is being abused or witness someone being abused.

First, recognize the signs that a friend is being abused. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, some of the warning signs include:

  • Their partner insults them in front of other people
  • They are constantly worried about making their partner angry.
  • They make excuses for the partner’s behavior.
  • Their partner is extremely jealous or possessive.
  • They have unexplained marks or injuries.
  • They’ve stopped spending time with family and friends.
  • They are depressed or anxious, or you notice changes in their personality.

If you think your friend is being abused, be supportive, listen to them and ask questions about how they are doing. Be mindful that this friend may not be ready or able to leave the relationship right now.

Knowing or thinking about this friend, whom you care about can be very hard. You could fear for their safety and want to insist that they leave their abuser but every adult must make their own decisions.

Every abuse situation is different, and the other people involved are different too. Below are some ways to help a friend who is being abused.

  • Set up time to talk in private – preferably in person.
  • Let your friend know you are concerned about their safety.
  • Be supportive and listen. Be honest and understand they may become defensive at first. It may be hard for them to talk about the abuse.
  • Offer specific support – willingness to support through care of their children.
  • Help make a safety plan – talk with your friend about safety planning through an Air Force Family Advocacy Program domestic abuse victim advocate.
  • If your friend decides to stay in the abusive relationship, continue to be supportive.
  • Let your friend know that you will always be there no matter what.
  • Encourage your friend to talk to someone who can help. Below are resources to support victims of domestic abuse.

For more information or support, contact the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Family Advocacy Program DAVA at 937-265-0022. Support is available 24/7.

The Family Advocacy Program office can be reached at 937-257-4608.

For additional support, contact:

  • Military One Source:
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • Montgomery County Artemis Center: 937-461-4357
  • Greene County Family Violence Prevention Crisis Hotline: 937-372-4552

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