step up >> stepping in

Stepping up to support your friends and educate about dating
abuse also requires that you take a step in and become invested
in your friends’ lives.

This can be tough.

If you’re stepping into a dating abuse situation, you may feel pressure to “save” your friend from an abusive partner or “stop” your friend from being an abuser. Remember, no one
can force anyone to do anything they are not ready for.
Also, it’s not easy to talk about
dating abuse. If you approach a friend, they may get upset with you. You’re stepping in because you care about your friend; if they’re not ready to talk, then take a break but let
them know you are still going to be there.

Your role is to talk the situation through with your friend, provide support, and offer resources. Consider your own needs, establish boundaries, and only offer to do things
you can follow through on. And if it gets to much, seek a friend or trusted adult to give
you support.

If you’re stepping in to educate bystanders about abuse, you may feel it’s your duty to
ensure that everyone “gets” the issue. Peers will have lots of different ideas about dating abuse; some may think it’s not an issue at all. You can’t change someone’s attitudes for them; they have to be ready themselves.

Your role is to speak up when you think abusive language or behavior is being used, educate your peers about healthy relationships, and offer resources. It can be difficult becoming the “go-to” person for information and support, so try to establish a group of
peers who can provide support in your community. Consult with those peers or a trusted
adult when you need support.

Change takes time. Whether you’re working with individuals in an abusive relationship
or trying to change community attitudes around abusive behavior, change doesn’t happen overnight. Stepping in requires persistence, patience, and peers to support you. But with these things, change definitely can happen.
Quick Exit
24 Hour Hotline: 1.800.899.4000