How to Help a Friend You Think Is a Silent Victim of Domestic Violence

Written on 05/17/2024

Social media is in an uproar today following the release of a 2016 video by CNN showing Diddy abusing Cassie in a hotel. This incident, previously mentioned in Cassie’s lawsuit against Diddy that was later settled, has now been confirmed by the disturbing footage. The video highlights the severe abuse Cassie endured at the hands of Diddy.

This moment serves as a crucial reminder to shed light on the issue of domestic violence. We all know that domestic violence is real and happens around us more than we’d like to think. Too often, the victims of domestic violence suffer in silence, and it’s on us to look out for them. If you suspect a friend is dealing with this, it can be tough to figure out how to help. But we’ve got to be there for each other. Here’s how you can step in and make a difference with all the love and empathy you’ve got.

1. Spot the Signs

Your girl might not come out and say she’s being hurt, but the signs are there if you look:

  • Physical Signs: Bruises, cuts, or any injuries that don’t add up.
  • Behavior Changes: She’s not hanging out like she used to, seems down, or always anxious.
  • Control Freak Partner: If her partner is always checking on her, keeping her away from her friends and family, or making all the decisions.
  • Emotional Signals: She’s got low self-esteem, cries a lot, or is always saying sorry for things that aren’t her fault.

2. Make Her Feel Safe

Create a space where she feels safe to open up. Don’t bring this up when her partner’s around or when you’re out in public.

3. Talk to Her Gently

When you bring it up, be gentle and show you care. Use “I” statements so she doesn’t feel like she’s being attacked:

  • “I’ve noticed you seem upset lately, and I’m worried about you.”
  • “I’m here for you if you ever need someone to talk to.”

4. Listen Without Judging

If she opens up, just listen. Let her share her story in her own time. Don’t jump in with solutions or look shocked—she needs to know you’re there, no matter what.

5. Give Her Resources

Know where she can get help and share it with her:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
  • Local shelters and support groups

6. Respect Her Choices

It’s her life and her decisions. Leaving an abusive relationship is complicated. Support her no matter what she decides to do.

7. Encourage Professional Help

Suggest she talks to a counselor or lawyer. Offer to help her set up appointments or go with her if she’s scared to go alone.

8. Help Her Make a Safety Plan

Help her plan a way to leave if she needs to. This might include:

  • Finding a safe place to go.
  • Packing an emergency bag with essentials (documents, money, clothes).
  • Setting up a code word with friends or family for emergencies.

9. Be Patient and Keep Checking In

This process can take time. Keep being there for her, checking in, and reminding her that you’re there whenever she needs you.

10. Take Care of Yourself Too

Supporting a friend through this can be draining. Make sure you’re looking after your own mental health and have a support system for yourself.

Helping a friend who’s silently dealing with domestic violence isn’t easy, but it’s so important. By recognizing the signs, offering a safe space, and providing support and resources, you can help her find her way to safety and healing. Always remember to be patient and respect her journey—she needs your love and support every step of the way.