Tough Stuff

Girl Talk: Call For Help

I've been talking a lot lately to my friend who lives in another state. Today when he called, he said he was getting his cast off of his arm. I asked him how he broke his arm and he said that his dad hit him really hard. I was so shocked! He told me not to tell anyone, but I just don't know what to do. His dad also just went overseas to Iraq, so he's not with him now and his mom doesn't do anything like that. I just feel so bad about it, and I don't know what I should do. Please help me.
-amazingly erin

Hey Erin!

This is never an easy situation to deal with. While appropriate discipline is a necessary part of parenting, no child deserves to be physically hurt – especially to the point of doing damage! If this were happening to you, you could tell a guidance counselor, teacher, family member, etc., and make sure something is done about it. But when a friend is being abused by a family member (and you don’t necessarily know all the details), what can you do?
You can still go to a guidance counselor, teacher, parent, or other trusted adult and tell them about the situation. Even if they don’t know your friend, they may be able to give you advice and guide you along the best course of action to get help for your friend. If you think it is recurring and serious, you can report suspected violence to many different agencies that can investigate and decide what needs to be done:
  • Each state has their own resource to call for reporting
  • has several resources on their website that may help you.
  • If you ever think he (or any friend) is in immediate danger, call the police.

However, it's extremely important for you to let your friend know to reach out for help himself. As a third party, you don't know all the deets into the situation and therefore do not want to make any premature assumptions.
But most importantly, your friend will need your support and friendship. Try to talk to him about the situation and see if you can come up with solutions. For example, if his father hits him when he talks back, advise him to hold his tongue and try to be as non-confrontational as possible. Your friend should also talk to him mom about the situation. If she’s aware of it, she needs to do something about it. If she’s not aware of it, she needs to be.

<3 Jessie M.

2/7/2008 10:00:00 AM
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