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© 2004, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


One of the hardest things to do is to confront a family member, friend, co-worker, or neighbor who abuses his wife or girlfriend about his inexcusable and wrongful behavior. You may feel that you don't know what to say, are fearful of becoming involved, or that his behavior towards his significant other is none of your business.

Your friend may want to talk about the problem but has not had the opportunity because no one has had the courage to address the issue with him. Your friend may hesitate to talk about his behavior but at least you can let him know that you've noticed. By asking him about his behavior you may open the door to future communication. If you have an acquaintance or friend who you suspect is hurting his partner, now is the time to say something before things get worse. When abuse and violence are present in a relationship things rarely get better; in fact, the abuse usually escalates. Some tend to think that men who abuse must have something wrong with them or have a mental illness that can be diagnosed. Being abusive is not caused by a mental illness; it is a learned behavioral choice. Abuse toward an intimate partner is an issue of dominance and control.