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How to help a friend

It is impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of abuse. If you witness these warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member or co-worker, take them very seriously.

General Warning Signs of Intimate Partner Violence
Warning Signs of Physical Violence

People who are being abused may:

  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy or possessiveness

People who are being physically abused may:

  • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
  • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
  • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)
Warning Signs of Isolation
The Psychological Warning Signs of Abuse

People who are being isolated by their abuser may:

  • Be restricted from seeing family and friends
  • Rarely go out in public without their partner
  • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car

People who are being abused may:

  • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
  • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  • Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal

Speak up if you suspect Intimate Partner Violence

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save their life.

Talk to the person in private and let them know that you’re concerned. Point out the things you’ve noticed that make you worried. Tell the person that you’re there, whenever they feel ready to talk. Reassure the person that you’ll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and let them know that you’ll help in any way you can.

Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed and confused. They need help to get out, yet they’ve often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.

Do:
Don't:
  • Ask if something is wrong
  • Express concern
  • Listen and validate
  • Offer help
  • Support his or her decisions
  • Wait for him or her to come to you
  • Judge or blame
  • Pressure him or her
  • Give advice
  • Place conditions on your support

*Adapted from thehotline.org

Local Hotlines

24-Hr Sexual Assault Hotline
(920) 722-8150
24-Hr Domestic Abuse Hotline
(920) 235-5998

Contact Information
Name: Stephanie Kitzerow
Phone: (920) 424-2061
Email: kitzeros@uwosh.edu
Hours: M-F: 8:30am-4:30pm
Office: Student Success Center, Suite 240
(Inside the Counseling Center)
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