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August 14, 2000   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


7. How can I help a friend or family member?

Your presence is crucial, but your role is tricky. Much as you may want to just yell STOP NOW, doing so may drive him/her farther away. You cannot tell this person what to do; someone is already doing that. Remember that, while it may seem passive, your support -- even as s/he chooses to stay -- is a statement.

Once, while wearing her "PRESS" hat, Breakup Girl interviewed a young woman in California who'd finally shored up the chutzpah to leave a partner who jerked her around, figuratively and literally. What made her wake up and get out? The fact that her friends stuck by her, included her in their plans, and constantly reminded her -- even without saying it outright -- that she mattered. So tell her why you're concerned, tell her that it's the last time you're going to lecture her about why you're concerned, tell her that you will be there for her no matter what, and tell her that she better get her shoes on because you're going to see The X-Men.

• Warning signs: a list from the forthcoming book But I Love Him by Dr. Jill Murray
• What you can do: the parents' guide from "When Love Hurts"
• Helping him/her through a painful breakup: BG's advice
• Book available now: What Parents Need to Know About Dating Violence by Barrie Levy and Patricia O. Giggans

• Warning signs: a list from the forthcoming book But I Love Him by Dr. Jill Murray
• How to help: the friends' guide from "When Love Hurts"
• How to help: BG's general advice plus her response to "A Friend in Need"

8. Back to Becky

So Becky?

I bet you once thought that you would lose your virginity only to someone special. And I bet now you want more than anything for this one to be that guy. It must be hard to accept any alternative.

Well, it's not your fault that things haven't turned out that way. And it's not your fault that he hasn't changed. The stuff he says and does to you is beyond your control, maybe even beyond his. People who love each other are in prime position to, like, push each other's buttons, but "treating each other horrible" goes way beyond okay. Becky, love can be hard, but it's not supposed to suck.

It's probably difficult to trust yourself -- or anyone, or anything -- at a time when all sorts of stuff you thought you knew is getting called into question. So let me remind you: you are right. You are so, so right. "Treating people good" -- that's the idea. So is being with someone you dig talking to and look forward to hanging out with. So is being safe. Read this and this; please talk to a grownup about what's going on; let your friends keep you company. That way, you can figure out what you need to do. And you know what? I bet you've already helped lots of other people figure out what to do, too. Thanks.

Breakup Girl

9. Resources

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE

Abused men: centers and resources

Abusers: how to stop and get help

Advocates for Abused and Battered Lesbians

Books by Barrie Levy:
Dating Violence: Young Women in Danger
In Love and In Danger: A Teen's Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships
What Parents Need to Know About Dating Violence

But I Love Him: Protecting Your Daughter from Controlling, Abusive Dating Relationships (book available 10/00)

CDC Fact Sheet on Dating Violence

Cybergrrl Safety Net (stories, info, links)

Domestic Violence Links Worldwide

Domestic Violence Links Nationwide

Domestic Violence Links: U.S. state and local

Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project

It's My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence (book by Meg Kennedy Dugan)

Teens: SafePlace

Teens: When Love Hurts

Some other sources BG used: APBnews.com, The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, New York Times ("On campuses, warnings about violence in relationships," 2/13/00), Teenwire, Twist Magazine ("I Loved Him, He Abused Me," 2/2000); interviews with Barrie Levy, L.C.S.W.

Lots of Shoutouts!


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