If you are in immediate danger or feel unsafe, call 911.
Simple idea 1: Begin With The Basics. Be sure the young men around you know what “respect” means – treating others with dignity, understanding, and civility at all times. And be sure you model this yourself.
Simple idea 2: Teach Boys When They Are Young. We have expectations for the young men in our lives when it comes to academics, athletics, the use of drugs or alcohol, and a host of other behaviors. We should express the same positive expectations when it comes to how they treat the girls and women in their lives.
Simple idea 3: Be A Guide. When you see your son get mad, let him know appropriate ways of coping. He can talk to someone, walk it off, or use the situation to learn how to manage frustration so it does not turn into anger in the first place. Teach him to develop a healthy, positive self-image-one that is not based on controlling others.
Simple idea 4: Harness Your Competitive Side. Challenge men who glorify violence, sexual conquests, or how they dominate the women in their lives. Men challenge one another in just about every other aspect of life – this should be included.
Simple idea 5: Watch Your Language. Avoid using feminine terms or characteristics as insults. (“Pansy”, “Throw like a girl”, etc.) It only perpetuates the idea that femininity, and women, are less valuable.
How to Talk to a Friend Who May Be Violent
It’s hard to talk to a friend when you think his behavior is out of control. You want to believe him when he says you’re wrong. But if you have seen behavior that makes you think he may be hurting his girlfriend, you owe it to him, to her and to yourself to take a stand. It may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done – but it could make a real difference in all of your lives.
Do1: Be Specific about what you saw and how it made you feel. “I didn’t like it when you told your girlfriend she was stupid in front of all of us, and I can only imagine how it made her feel.”
Do 2: Take A Stand. “I’m not going to sit here as your friend and watch this happen and not say anything about it.”
Do 3: Give Him A Reality Check. His violent actions will have consequences. “This is a crime, and you could be arrested.”
Do 4: Urge Him to Seek Help. He can talk to a counselor, a coach, a member of the clergy, any trusted adult, even an older brother or mentor. The YWCA offers services for men who want help. 616.459.4652
Do 5: Offer To Get Information For Your Friend. The YWCA can help you with that. Call 616.459.4652
Make him feel ashamed of himself. You care about your friend and you want his behavior to change. If you didn’t think he had it in him to be a decent person, you probably wouldn’t be hanging out with him.
What To Do If You See An Assault In Progress
Step 1: Don’t Ignore Abuse. Survivors say that when no one acknowledged that they saw the abuse or tried to help, it made them feel even more isolated and alone. Domestic violence is a crime and should be reported just like any other.
Step 2: Keep Yourself Safe. These situations can be dangerous.
Step 3: Call 911 if you see or hear an assault in progress. If you are outside when you see a victim being assaulted on the street or in a car write down the car license number and/or the location of the assault and call the police.