Help Someone You Know

If someone you know is in an abusive relationship, you can help!

Domestic and sexual violence can happen to anyone, regardless of race, sex, gender, education, social-economic level, or religion.  It can happen in heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer relationships.  It can happen between men, women, or transgender people.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence (DV) comes in many forms.  DV occurs when one person wants to maintain power and control over an intimate partner in any type of relationship, whether they are dating, lived ting together, or married; whether they are currently in, or used to be in, a relationship.

Your friend, family member, or co-worker is experiencing domestic or intimate partner violence if their partner:

  • Calls them names or swears at them in order to make them feel bad
  • Physically hurts them or threatens to hurt them, their family, friends, or pets
  • Withholds money for basic needs
  • Threatens to deport them
  • Isolates them from family, friends, and community
  • Forces them to have sex
  • Stalks and intimidates them

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence can happen anywhere and to anyone.  It is any kind of unwanted sexual conduct or attention, including:

  • Inappropriate touching
  • Unwanted exposure to sexual images
  • Unwanted following or waiting for you (stalking)
  • Threats of sexual contact against your will
  • Sex when you cannot consent, like when you are drunk or high
  • Rape or attempted rape.  Rape can include oral, anal, or vaginal penetration.

What You Can Do:

First, take care of yourself and your own safety.  Don’t do anything that will compromise your physical, mental or emotional safety while ensuring the safety of your loved one.

  • If your loved one is in immediate danger and crisis, call 911.  Your loved one has the right to police protection regardless of immigration status.
  • Give your loved one information and resources, including CPAF’s 24-hour free and confidential hotline number, so that they can make informed decisions about their safety and future.  1-800-339-3940
  • Help your loved one create a safety plan for themselves and their family.  If they have been sexually assaulted, help them protect their wellness.
  • Most importantly: listen to their story without judgment and let them know that this is not their fault.  Abusers use power and control to make their partner feel like they deserve the abuse that they have been enduring. You might be the first person to tell them that no one deserves violence and abuse.
  • Remember: it’s hard for anyone to choose to leave a relationship, even if it is unhealthy.  If your loved one is not ready to leave, show patience and remain nonjudgmental.  There are many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships, and sometimes it is a matter of life or death.  The best you can do is support your loved one emotionally, and provide them with resources and information to help them make the choice for themselves to live violence-free lives.