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My friend is living in an abusive household. How can I help her?

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  • My friend is living in an abusive household. How can I help her?

    My friend, ''A'', lives with their two parents and a younger sibling. Her younger sibling is always treated differently then her. He gets what he wants, when he wants, and when A asks for something, she's greeted with screaming and insults. Her brother has made multiple out-of-place comments about her sister, ex. ''i wish you would go away forever'', and when she tells her dad/mom about it, they ignore her, and when she says something of the same nature, she gets punished, her things get confiscated, she gets called names and hit. There isn't a huge age difference between them either. She's always made fun of by their parents, and when she tries to confront them about it, they scream, hit, and threaten her and tells her that they ''should be more grateful of what they do for her''. When I bump into her in public her parents are always really nice but she swears it's not the same at home and I believe her. Her mother does have a drinking problem and her dad isn't there most of the time, he's either at work or walking/biking/working out. Usually, she's the one who has to make dinner, since her mom doesn't want to do it and if she doesn't do it her mom wont feed her and tell her ''well starve then''. A few days ago her parents had guests over and she was the laughing stock. They made fun of her and in retaliation she tried making jokes about her parents as well, I believe in a sort of ''joke war''. It resulted in her getting sent to her room and screamed at. I'm concerned for my friend. Sometimes she comes to school with bruises. This has been going on for quite a while now and I'm scared she'll break down, run away. or worse. How do I help her and how do I let her know im there to help?

  • #2
    Thank you very much for writing us at the National Runaway Safeline. We are here to listen and here to help. It seems as though your friend is going through a tough time at home, dealing with the differences in treatment between her and her brother and with how her parents treat her in general. It is understandable that you would be worried about her. It is also great that she has such a supportive friend in you! It is great that she can turn to you if she encounters difficulty.

    It sounds like you are wondering if she may be experiencing abuse at home. There is a National Child Abuse Hotline that you can call (or have your parents call or even have your friend call). There, you can make an abuse report. Don’t worry about having to be certain that abuse is happening. It is their job to figure out if there really is. It is confidential. Their number is 1-800-422-4453 or 1-800-4A-CHILD. You can also feel free to refer your friend to us if she wants an additional listening ear.

    In any case, we appreciate your reaching out! It is admirable that you are being such a great friend to your friend!


    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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